Inter striker Romelu Lukaku has admitted that he was nervous about returning to the club on loan last summer, a year after moving on from Chelsea.
The Belgium international enjoyed two prolific seasons at Inter after signing from Manchester United in 2019, but incurred the anger of Nerazzurri fans after pushing for a return to former club Chelsea in 2021 in a €115 million deal.
After a disappointing season in the Premier League, Lukaku came back to Inter on loan in June and in an interview with Italian television broadcaster Sky Sport Italia, and as reported by FCInterNews.it, he revealed his emotions at coming back to the club.
“There is satisfaction in being back, a lot. I’m happy to be back, but I don’t want to talk so much off the pitch. I’m working hard with the coaches and the team, now I have to respond on the pitch,” Lukaku declared.
“I’m very well, we’ve done a great job with the team, the coach and the trainers. The team must continue to work and prepare well for the challenge against Napoli.”
The former Everton striker also revealed how his return to Inter came about, with Chelsea’s new owner Todd Boehly facilitating the move after a difficult relationship with coach Thomas Tuchel.
“I knew I was coming back when I was with the national team. A few days before, I spoke to the owner of Chelsea, we had a nice conversation and I told him everything, my relationship with the coach who was at Chelsea at the time.
“I told him I wanted to return to Inter and he opened the door for me. Then I started talking to Inter and from there the negotiation went quickly, then my agent took care of the details.
“I was tired, I had taken my holidays and I arrived here straight away. I was nervous, but in the end I had to do everything to help the team. Inter gave me the opportunity I needed in my career, now I want to do something important with this team.”
The striker discussed his relationship with fellow forwards Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez, with the latter returning after helping Argentina win the 2022 World Cup, as well as defender Federico Dimarco.
“I saw Lautaro and hugged him, I also messaged him after the final and I’m so happy for him that he won the World Cup.
“All players dream of winning it, I hope this success gives him extra energy to do good things for us. Now he will have extra energy, I think he will do really well in the second half of the season.
“We (Dzeko) always had a very good relationship and even when we were both in the Premier League, we were always talking. He should have arrived earlier at Inter but he didn’t, but we always had a very good relationship anyway.
“He likes to play on the edge and gives me the chance to attack the space, then in the area we can both do everything. I can play with anyone, so can he and so can we. We can also play all three together with Lautaro as a trequartista, then Correa is also back. We are all well and we have to give our best.
“Fede is the first player who helped me in the dressing room, the first real friend. When I arrived he taught me many things about Inter, he speaks a little French, I understood Italian but he helped me a lot. When he went to Verona the relationship always remained, now we are PlayStation friends, we always play together at night.
“The dressing room atmosphere is great, now I have to get to the top mentally because the opponents now attack me immediately. The group is competitive, we are very friendly and that is unique in football. We’ve grown together and that’s a good thing.”
“Our meeting in the dressing room was important, there everyone showed they wanted to do well for the team and for themselves, we are at Inter to win and to do good things on the pitch.
“There are no alibis, we have to do things for the team, the maximum every day. I think since Barcelona we have shown that we are more of a team, now everyone does things for the team and we have to continue like this.
“When we won the league two years ago everyone was running, football is like that, we also saw it at the World Cup. I think we are now trained and ready for any situation.”
Lukaku made an instant impact in his first game back, with a goal in the opening minutes of his second debut against Lecce in August, before Denzel Dumfries secured a 2-1 win deep into stoppage time.
“Against Lecce, I thought “one, now I have to get the second’. I also remember Denzel’s goal and how we all celebrated together, Dumfries’ goal led us to win the game, we all went to celebrate with him and there you can see that the team is united.”
Lukaku has suffered an injury-hit season since coming back to Inter and has been limited to just five appearances, scoring twice in all competitions.