Former Inter head coach Antonio Conte considers Romelu Lukaku to be the player who he had most wanted to have play under him during his career.
Speaking to this week’s print edition of Italian news magazine Sportweek, the Italian tactician spoke about some of his former players from the Nerazzurri and singled out the Belgian as a player who he had aimed to work with most keenly.
Conte and Lukaku both joined Inter during the summer of 2019, and both men left the club two years later, during this summer.
The Belgian had been a player who the Italian coach had reportedly hoped to sign at his two previous clubs Juventus and Chelsea, but in both cases he was never able to get his hands on the striker.
However, the Nerazzurri decided to make the investment in the Belgian as part of the team they built for Conte, and the pair won the first Scudetto at the club in eleven years during their second season together there.
“Let me say that in my career in the end I have always made money, not just spent it,” the coach stated. “I have often worked with young players who needed coaching, guys whose value was not at its peak or whose career needed to be rebuilt.”
He went on that “I’ve worked with players who had never won until they were with me. I’ve found new value in all these players, thanks to my work. In my career I have only asked for a club to spend big money on one player.”
He specified the player in question as Lukaku, stating that “I asked for him based on the objectives that had been presented to me. The Inter executives came to my house to tell me that they wanted to overthrow Juve’s hegemony and bring Inter to the top of the league, making the best use of significant investment.”
“I asked for Lukaku who I considered essential,” he continued. “But also look at what he was sold for – almost double what was paid. The same with Hakimi.”
“I could mention the improvement of Barella, Bastoni, Lautaro,” Conte added, “who did not play at the same level before my arrival.”