Former Inter striker Romelu Lukaku has revealed that he would never play for Juventus or AC Milan as he feels Inter are the only team in Italy for him, according to a report in the Italian broadcast media today.
Speaking during a very revealing interview with Sky Sport, via FCInternews, Romelu Lukaku spoke passionately about how he only ever wanted to join Inter out of all the Italian teams, and the Nerazzurri are the only Italian team he would join in the future.
“Juventus or AC Milan? Never. Juventus tried to buy me, yes. I got a little angry with my agent, he knew I didn’t want to talk to Juventus because for me in Italy there is only Inter but I talked to them because I had not yet received Inter’s offer and when I learned that Antonio Conte could go there I waited until the end for President Zhang to make me an offer.
“I told Manchester United that I would go to Inter even if Juventus had made a better offer. Also in the future, in Italy, I will either play for Inter or go back to Anderlecht.”
Romelu Lukaku has revealed more about what led to his departure from Inter in the summer transfer window. He claims that he would have remained at the club had they offered him a new contract after winning the Scudetto.
“After we won the Scudetto, I went to the executives and asked for a renewal. In Milan I was happy, they didn’t want to renew my deal.
“The only thing was the renewal. I knew that with Inzaghi as coach the opportunity to win would still be there, for him the next step is the Scudetto. I didn’t go to Chelsea because Antonio Conte left. If Inter had proposed the renewal, I would still be in Milan.”
It is clear that Romelu Lukaku is eternally grateful for the time he spent in Milan and all of the people at the club who made it possible. He has historic reasoning for wanting to join Chelsea again though.
“In Milan, I had the best moments of my professional career. I have to thank the teammates I had because they were always available from day one. Conte’s staff and Inzaghi’s staff during the month we were together. The managers. Everyone at the top.
“The people in Milan, the Inter fans are the best in the world. But as a footballer I grew up as a Chelsea fan, there are also pictures of when I went to Stamford Bridge when I was 15. The first time around at 18 didn’t go well but I always had that goal in my head.
“In my career I always try to face difficulties, it has always been like that, it stimulates me. I find something in myself to improve and help the team I play for.”
The Belgian striker also opened up about teams he had turned down in the past and some of the reasoning for his departure from Manchester United to join Inter.
“After the first year at Inter I turned down an offer from Manchester City which was higher than Chelsea’s current one because I didn’t want to leave.
“It was not the time, it was the first year, I wanted to do something good for Inter because they saved my career. I was in a tunnel at Manchester United.”
The Chelsea forward explained how he fell in love with Inter and felt like he would spend many years at the club before perhaps moving on to a team at the very top of the game.
“I was a big investment for Inter and we did great things together. When we won the Scudetto I spoke to the managers and asked for a renewal because I’m 28, the family feels good in Milan, I still have the apartment here: I told myself we would come here with the whole family.
“But they didn’t want to, there wasn’t the possibility and this was a bit difficult to accept because in my head I told myself that if I can do a few more years at Inter, then in football there are three teams at the absolute top. They are Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
“All players dream of being able to play for these teams and I thought I would write my story at Inter and then go to one of them. But first I wanted the renewal so I would be even happier.
“We had done great things, after two years, we could continue this progression as players and for me, Lautaro Martinez, Nicolo Barella, Alessandro Bastoni, Milan Skriniar, with whom I matured.
“It didn’t happen and then I said to myself that there is only one team where I can imagine going and that was Chelsea. I didn’t think about going until they made the deal. When it happened I talked to Simone Inzaghi and he was very good with me. From the beginning to the last day he and his staff have been real men. I was annoyed that there was no renewal, otherwise I would have stayed.”
Romelu Lukaku maintains that his motivation for leaving Inter was not financial. It was more to do with wanting to achieve silverware in England.
“It’s not a question of money, it’s a question of the challenge because I didn’t win much in England in eight years. It was hard for me to say no to the team I cheered for as a child. At another time I would have stayed.
But you see, Conte leaves, Hakimi leaves. There is talk of the club in financial difficulty. I have not said anything, I have always had a good relationship with the club, the fans, Inzaghi who called me after the announcement of his arrival.
“He called Samir Handanovic and then me. I was out and about in Brussels and he explained to me how he wanted me to play. He was my brother’s coach at Lazio and he always spoke well to me. Inzaghi is a top manager, even if we were only together for a short time.
“I always follow Inter. I look at everything. I understood they would be fine anyway because last year’s experience helped the team in terms of maturity and match management.”
Continuing the praise for the current Inter squad, Romelu Lukaku said: “Inzaghi is tactically strong, I know the way he wants to play and I knew he could give this extra step to the team to manage the games.
Now the team plays more attacking, scores more goals. Calhanoglu is doing well and I’m happy for him. The team has taken this step in managing the matches. I don’t like making comparisons between this team and last year.
“Today’s, honestly, they play really well and are first. I hope they win because they are players I love, it is thanks to them that I am who I am today. Inter must be at the top. I hope they continue like this.”
Romelu Lukaku had a great relationship with Lautaro Martinez and he joked that he will be reunited with the Argentine at Inter again.
“Do I miss him? Yes, because he was someone who I didn’t have to talk to too much, I could die for him on the pitch. If we get back together, maybe at Chelsea? No, stay there and I’ll be back.
“From the first day, when I saw him, I knew we could do great things because he has a way of playing that was great for me. When I had the ball I knew that he was in front of the goal to score and I was the same.
“We both speak Spanish and this helped a lot. After two years we have won together and this is the important thing. Among the teammates I had, he is at the top: him, Kevin De Bruyne and Edin Hazard.”
Romelu Lukaku was emotional when discussing the cardiac arrest that Christian Eriksen suffered during EURO 2020.
“A really difficult time for me. I have to be honest, I spent more time with that team than with my family. For me, those players are brothers for life. When that happened, it hurt me. His room was next to mine, I always spent time with him.
“I just hope for him that he recovers and that he resumes normal life, playing or not playing. Christian is a golden man, I didn’t talk much but he made the effort to learn Italian and it was very important for us when the coach found a way to make him play with Brozovic.
“There he got on well with the team and we saw him grow. The most difficult match was a few days later. I slept for several days afterwards too, during the European Championship. There you understand that there are more important things than football.”
The interview was rounded off by the striker with an apology to the Inter fans about how his time at the club came to an end.
“I should have left in a different way because what you have done for me and my family will remain with me for life. I hope to return not at the end of my career but at a good level to win more.
“I hope you will understand why I came to Chelsea, for the challenge I wanted to complete. Thanks for everything to the Italian fans, playing in Serie A is a dream come true. I hope we will see each other in a few years. Peace and love.”