9

Romelu Lukaku

Personal information

  • Name

    Romelu Lukaku
  • Date of birth

    13 May 1993 (age 29)
  • Birthplace

    Antwerp, Belgium
  • Height

    1.91m (6 ft 3 in)
  • Weight

    103 kg
  • Position

    Forward
  • Number

    9

Biography

Romelu Lukaku returned to Stamford Bridge in 2021 for a second spell with Chelsea a decade after he originally joined the Blues, having been on our books between 2011 and 2014.

The Belgian signed a five-year contract with the club he supported as a young boy, having developed into a formidable forward who is equally adept at holding the ball up with his back to goal as well as running into channels with purpose and intent.

2011/12

Aged just 18 when he arrived at Stamford Bridge from Anderlecht in his homeland in the summer of 2011, Lukaku made 12 appearances for the Blues in his first season, mainly as a substitute. He was also part of the group which travelled to Munich for our maiden Champions League triumph, although he wasn't named in the matchday squad for the shoot-out win over Bayern Munich.

2013/14

The Belgian made three appearances from the bench before heading out on loan in August 2013, in the Premier League wins over Hull City and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge, and the UEFA Super Cup defeat to Bayern Munich in Prague, seeing his penalty saved by Manuel Neuer to decide the shoot-out after a 2-2 draw.

2021/22

The fast starting Lukaku maintained his record of scoring on his debuts by netting 15 minutes into the first game of his second spell with Chelsea, setting us on our way to a 2-0 victory at Arsenal in the Premier League, before fulfilling his childhood dream of scoring at Stamford Bridge by getting a brace in his first home game since returning, as we defeated Aston Villa 3-0. Another goal in the Champions League win over Zenit St Petersburg made it four goals in as many matches after rejoining the Blues.

However, the goals didn't keep coming quite so easily and an injury picked up while scoring in the return match against Zenit in Russia saw him ruled out during a crucial period in December. Lukaku got important goals in back-to-back games on his return, giving us the lead in the 3-1 win at Aston Villa on Boxing Day and opening the scoring in the 1-1 draw with Brighton that followed.

It was in the FIFA Club World Cup that Lukaku had arguably the biggest impact of his first six months back with Chelsea, as we lifted the trophy for the first-ever time in Abu Dhabi. He showed a predator's instincts to slot in the only goal of the semi-final with Al Hilal from close range, before an excellent header from Callum Hudson-Odoi's cross opened the scoring in the final, as we beat Brazilian side Palmeiras in extra time.

On loan

Lukaku made his first loan move at the start of the 2012/13 season, staying in the Premier League with West Bromwich Albion, where he made an instant impact by scoring on his debut and full debut. It proved to be a highly productive campaign for the Belgian, as he finished with 17 goals and seven assists to his name, all in the league. The highlight of his time at The Hawthorns came in his last game for the club, as a second-half perfect hat-trick helped West Brom fight back from three goals down to draw 5-5 with Manchester United in Sir Alex Ferguson's final game as Red Devils boss.

The striker stayed in the Premier League with a second loan in 2013/14, this time with Everton. He kept up his habit of making fast starts by netting the winner on his debut, in a 3-2 win at West Ham United. His home debut went even better in another 3-2 win, over Newcastle United, as he scored a brace and set up future Chelsea team-mate Ross Barkley for the other. Two further goals in a 3-3 draw with Liverpool in the Merseyside derby ensured his popularity with the Everton fans, as his 15 goals contributed to the Toffees' best-ever Premier League points tally of 72.

Pre-Chelsea

Lukaku started his professional career with Anderlecht in his homeland Belgium, impressing at a young age by scoring 131 goals in 93 appearances for their youth side. He made his senior debut for the club at the age of just 16 in May 2009 and became a regular in the first team the following season, with his 15 goals making him the Belgian Pro League's top scorer as he became a title winner in his first campaign at senior level. He got 20 league goals in 2010/11, but after Anderlecht failed to retain their title the striker departed for his first spell with Chelsea.

That initial period as a Blue ended in the summer of 2014, when Lukaku made his loan move to Everton permanent and he scored his first goal of the season against another side he had spent time on loan with, West Bromwich Albion. His goalscoring in the Premier League continued to increase, becoming only the fifth player under the age of 23 to reach 50 goals in the competition.

He also set several club records, as the first Everton player ever to find the net in six consective Premier League games, the first to get 20 goals in all competitions for the Toffees in three consecutive seasons in the Premier League era and the first to score more than 20 times in a single Premier League campaign.

That form resulted in a move to Manchester United and Lukaku enjoyed an impressive start to life at Old Trafford, as a goal on his debut against Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup and a brace on his Premier League debut against West Ham United contributed to his 10 goals in his first nine games, breaking a club record set by Sir Bobby Charlton more than 60 years earlier.

Despite another good start to his second season in Manchester, with four goals in his first five games, his form dropped off as United struggled and he found himself out of favour when Jose Mourinho was replaced as manager by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, prompting Lukaku to look aborad for his next opportunity, in Italy with Inter Milan.

It was while in Serie A the striker enjoyed arguably the best form of his career, as he was named the Europa League Player of the Season in 2019/20, before playing an integral part as the Italian side won the league title the next season, their first in over a decade. His 24 goals and 11 assists earned him the competition’s MVP award as well as a place on the 2021 Ballon d'Or shortlist, in addition to setting plenty more records, which included reaching 50 goals in 70 games for Inter, seven fewer than the previous holder, Brazil legend Ronaldo.

International

Lukaku has long impressed on the international stage and has scored 64 times in 98 games during a golden period for his national side. He is by some distance Belgium’s all-time top goalscorer.

He was named in UEFA’s team of the tournament for Euro 2020, during which he netted four times in Belgium’s run to the quarter-finals, where they were knocked out by eventual champions Italy.