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Romelu Lukaku: Everything you need to know about the new Chelsea striker

Following the news that Romelu Lukaku is back at the Bridge, we look in detail at his career so far, which included a previous spell at Chelsea…

Prior to arriving in SW6 the first time, Romelu Lukaku joined Anderlecht at the age of 13 from local side Lierse and scored goals at a staggering rate. In a 2011 interview, he claimed to have netted 261 times in five seasons during his early teenage years, having played up front throughout his football upbringing.

Which clubs has Romelu Lukaku played for?

Lukaku made his senior debut soon after his 16th birthday at the end of the 2008/09 campaign and became a regular in Brussels over the course of the next two seasons, firing a league-high 15 goals as Anderlecht claimed the league title.

The striker also played in Europe for the first time, scoring four times in the 2009/10 Europa League as the team reached the round of 16, although his Champions League exposure was limited to the qualifying round as Anderlecht twice missed out on the group stage. 

After another 20 goals in 2010/11, Lukaku swapped Brussels for the Bridge three months after turning 18. He featured mostly as a substitute in that maiden season in England, starting just once in the Premier League.

It was while on loan at West Bromwich Albion from Chelsea in 2012/13 that Lukaku started to be noticed as a marksman. The previous campaign, he had played 12 games for us without finding the net but after scoring for West Brom on his debut in a win over Liverpool, he added a further 16 Premier League goals and was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award, as well as being voted the Baggies’ Player of the Year.

What is Romelu Lukaku’s Premier League record?

Back at Chelsea at the start of 2013/14, Lukaku made three substitute appearances, including in the UEFA Super Cup match against Bayern Munich, before spending the rest of that campaign on loan at Everton. 

Once again, he scored what proved to be the winner in his first game against West Ham and continued to find the net regularly, upping his season’s tally to 16 goals, all but one of which came in the Premier League.

He quickly endeared himself with the Evertonians by bagging a brace on his Goodison Park debut before doing the same in the Merseyside derby, helping Roberto Martinez’s side earn a point in a 3-3 thriller. Regular goalscoring continued as the Toffees finished fifth with a club-record points tally, and the move was swiftly made permanent that summer, the fee paid another club record.

Lukaku remained on Merseyside working under Martinez, who would later take the reins of the Belgian national team, for another three seasons and took his tally to 87 goals in 152 games. 

By scoring 25 times in the league in 2016/17, he became Everton’s all-time top scorer in the Premier League, surpassing Duncan Ferguson. His efforts that season saw him nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award.

A move to Manchester United followed, where he was reunited with Jose Mourinho, who had briefly been his manager at Chelsea. The pattern for debut goals continued with a strike in the Super Cup, a brace on his league debut and another in his first appearance in the Champions League proper, and by mid-October that season he had 16 for club and country.

In March 2018, he scored and made an assist in a 2-1 victory for Man United over Chelsea at Old Trafford, although he had a less profitable day against the Blues at the end of the season, starting the 2018 FA Cup final on the bench before being introduced in a match decided by an Eden Hazard penalty. 

Nevertheless, he finished as United’s top scorer in all competitions with 28 goals as the Red Devils finished runners-up in the league to Manchester City.

What is Romelu Lukaku’s international record?

Lukaku joined Hazard in Belgium’s World Cup squad that summer, becoming the country’s all-time top goalscorer after netting in a warm-up friendly against Egypt, and he found the net four times as his side made the semi-finals before going out to eventual winners France. 

They won the third-place play-off against England, with the striker featuring for an hour. He has also represented his country at the 2014 World Cup, and Euro 2016 and 2020, scoring 64 goals in 98 games.

His second season at Old Trafford was more of a struggle as Mourinho was replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in December and United ended up finishing sixth.

There were brighter individual moments for Lukaku, who netted four goals in the opening five league games, as well as a crucial early double away in France as Paris Saint-Germain were dumped out of the Champions League in March, a result that was seen as influential in Solskjaer being handed the job on a permanent basis.

However, the Norwegian’s preference for Marcus Rashford up front limited opportunities for Lukaku, who departed for Inter Milan that summer and went on to enjoy two hugely successful years in Serie A.

What is Romelu Lukaku’s style of play?

Part of the reason behind his renaissance was a new role in Antonio Conte’s 3-5-2, in which Lukaku operated off the target man striker Lautaro Martinez, allowing him to receive the ball to feet, turn and run at defenders. He has also been found advancing down the channels with his powerful dribbling ability, dragging defenders out of position and opening up spaces for team-mates, a role he has performed with the national team as the right-winger in a 4-3-3.

Another factor in the Antwerp-born attacker’s fine spell in Italy was an early intervention from the Inter medical team, who identified a previously unknown issue with his digestive system.

A change of diet saw him lose half a stone in just 12 days and the leaner Lukaku wasted no time in putting his name on the specials board with the Nerazzurri, scoring once again on his debut against Lecce before firing in the winner from the penalty spot in a 2-1 win at Cagliari.

His burgeoning partnership with Martinez and canny knack of finding the net in big games quickly earned praise among the Italian media and Inter’s supporters, not least scoring home and away in the derby against Milan, as well as braces against Sassuolo, Bologna and Napoli prior to the pandemic pause.

In the Europa League, he broke a goalscoring record by netting in 11 consecutive matches in the competition, including the winner in the quarter-final against Bayer Leverkusen and the opener in the final, which they ultimately lost 3-2 to Sevilla.

What has Romelu Lukaku won?

It was a runners-up spot in Serie A too as Inter missed out on the title by a single point but they would go one better a year later, with Lukaku netting 30 goals in all competitions. 

That haul included crucial strikes against Fiorentina, Napoli and Spezia before Christmas, while the highly-charged Milan derbies were also defined by Lukaku, with the striker finding the back of the net in all three meetings with Inter’s cross-city rivals.

He undoubtedly played a significant role in bringing the Scudetto back to the blue and black half of Milan for the first time in 11 years and will now be eyeing further glory back in the royal blue of Chelsea.

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