London, United Kingdom | AFP | Five things on Romelu Lukaku after Manchester United agreed a fee with Everton for the transfer of the Belgian striker on Saturday.
Lukaku not lost in translation
Lukaku is fluent in six languages including Portuguese and Spanish. “I think education is very important. It was important for me to have my diplomas at school so I could also go to England,” he said in 2012. “Education is very important in Belgium and, if you didn’t do well at school in the week, you couldn’t play football at the weekend. You can have an injury and then you won’t play at the highest level any more. If you don’t have a diploma, what then?”
Drogba his idol but with qualifications
His idols are Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba — who did make it big at Chelsea unlike Lukaku — and the Belgian international’s father Roger who was capped by the then Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo). However, Lukaku junior made it crystal clear in 2012 when Chelsea had sent him on loan to Premier League rivals West Brom that idols did not mean he wished to be compared to them. “Am I fed up being compared with Drogba? Yes,” he said. “In the beginning it was nice to hear that, but every player wants to make his own name. I want to make my own name. Drogba was my big idol and so was my father, who also played in Belgium. I want to be myself. I want the people to say “this is Roman Lukaku, not the new Drogba”.
Dad the guiding light
Any in-depth interview with Lukaku reveals that his father Roger has had the most profound influence on his life whether it be in education or his football career. It was tough love but it has paid off big time. “Very strict,” Lukaku told www.goal.com in 2011 regarding his upbringing. “My father told me, ‘You must always have a goal and do everything to reach it’. Ever since I was six or seven, I wanted to be a professional footballer.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 8, 2017
The Crying Game
As a teenager Lukaku and his schoolmates at Saint-Guidon Institute in Brussels were subject of a documentary ‘De School Van Lukaku’ (Lukaku’s School). Part of it filmed them on a trip to London and a visit to Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge Ground which left Lukaku overwhelmed. “Give me a ball and I will play here for five hours, What a stadium. If one day in my life I will cry, it will be the day I play here. I love Chelsea,” he says. The teacher accompanying the group urged a certain restraint from his pupil. “You can dream on later,” he says. Nevertheless undeterred Lukaku insists he is not fantasising. “This is not dreaming. I will do it. One day I will play here.”
Spoils Fergie’s United farewell
Alex Ferguson will be content for United they have secured such a talent and the legendary Scottish manager has good reason to recall the last time they crossed paths. It was Fergie’s last match in charge of United away at West Brom and at 3-1 up at half-time United looked set to give him a perfect send-off. However Lukaku being sent on as a second-half substitute changed it all. He scored almost immediately but United then went 5-2 up. However, three goals inside the last 10 minutes forced a remarkable 5-5 draw with Lukaku emerging with a hat-trick.