Inter striker Romelu Lukaku discussed his career, his relationship with his family and his time at Inter in an interview with Italian journalist Luigi Garlando at the Festival dello Sport earlier today.
“First of all, I am reminded of the discipline and mentality that my father taught me and Jordan, these are all things that he showed us every day. He taught us respect for others, for other people, something that I still have today.”
He spoke about his father, Roger Lukaku, who was also a professional football player.
“As a former footballer, then, the goal against Anderlecht in the Belgian Serie A is the one I remember best, I still have the VHS. That goal against a great team has always remained in my heart and inspired me to want to become a footballer.”
The Inter striker commented on the struggles that he and his family underwent early in his life.
“I was six years old when my father quit. My mother was diagnosed with diabetes at that time, the next four years were very hard, little money, hard work with my parents, every Saturday working with my mother to bring home food.
“These are all things that remained in my head, which gave me the strength to want to repay her for all the sacrifices she made for me and my brother. The A of my celebration stands for my mother, without her I would not be who I am today.”
The former Manchester United forward touched on how football has been his dream and how his parents helped him reach this level.
“Since then I have always seen myself as a footballer. It has always been my dream, I have never stopped thinking about it, I have always lived according to that dream. The discipline we received allowed us to think about the important things, going to achieve my dream. We were lucky to have had such parents.”
Lukaku spoke about one of his idols, former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
“Hasselbaink, I have in mind his goal with Chelsea against Manchester United. He controlled the ball with his chest and shot right at the middle of the posts. After I saw that goal I thought, I want to do this.”
He also discussed another one of his idols, former Juventus forward Gianluca Vialli.
“I remember Vialli because at home I had the videotape of the Chelsea final against Stuttgart when Zola scored, I remember also Inter’s final against Lazio, when Ronaldo had the game of his life. These are incredible games.”
The Belgian forward spoke about his experiences of facing racism in Italy since his arrival from England last summer.
“It’s the first time I’ve experienced such things, I must be honest, but I don’t want to think about certain things. Since I’ve been in Milan, I immediately felt the love of the fans, of the city, since my first goal against Lecce last year.
“This is something unique, that only in Italy I have found. Something that stimulates me even more to give everything for Inter.”
He discussed how it felt to play inside an empty stadium. Full capacity stadiums are still not expected in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s really bad, you can really hear everything we say. The lack of cheering is felt, there is a lack of those energies that make the difference.
“Having the stadium full is too good, it’s a life-changing experience. I hope that the fans can return as soon as possible.”
Lukaku spoke about his other passions apart from football.
“I like DJing, a bit of mixing at home, it’s something that relaxes me. Either I play soccer or I train or play videogames with my son, or I listen to music that relaxes me, I like to spend time with my family and be as present as possible, also because when I’m in training I’m one who gets angry quite quickly.”
He touched on his work with Inter coach Antonio Conte, who immediately requested the player when appointed as head coach last year.
“Conte has improved me in all ways. Thanks to the coach I understood who I am, it’s the first thing that needs to be understood. I knew that he and Inter were the best choice from the first training session and I gave 100% from the beginning. We want to win something.”
The former Manchester United forward spoke about if the Nerazzurri are ready for the Champions League and which players are funniest in the squad.
“We did very well last season, but we need to show that on the pitch, everything else doesn’t matter. The funniest teammate? Stefano Sensi, Lautaro, Young, Handanovic and Barella are the funniest. The squad is fantastic and united, we are all together, nobody is alone here at Inter.”
The 27-year-old spoke about his idols in life.
“My dream has always been to meet Kobe Bryant and Nelson Mandela.”
Finally, Lukaku spoke at the award ceremony of Giacinto Facchetti.
“It’s an honor, I’m very happy. We hope to see San Siro full again as soon as possible. Thanks for everything.”