Romelu Lukaku has become Chelsea’s record signing and the second most expensive player to join a Premier League club after Manchester City’s Jack Grealish.
What is it about the 28-year-old that has made the London club snare him for a second time from Internazionale Milano? investigates.
What they say
“He is one of the best strikers in the world. He already had important physical and technical skills but we made him progress even more his presence in the match, his teamwork and clarity in front of goal.”Antonio Conte, former Inter coach
“He’s humble. He wants to learn all the time, he wants to improve all the time and the ambition is there.”José Mourinho, former Manchester United manager
“At the age of 23, I always believed he had the possibility of becoming the best No9 in world football because he has absolutely everything.”Roberto Martínez, Belgium coach
Current tally
International: 97 appearances, 64 goalsUEFA club competition: 61 appearances, 34 goalsDomestic competition: 442 appearances, 214 goals
Claims to fame
AnderlechtOne of 13 youth players who joined Anderlecht in 2006 from relegated Lierse, for whom he had scored 121 goals in 68 youth games, Lukaku became their youngest player when he made his debut just 11 days after his 16th birthday on 24 May 2009 in a Belgian championship decider against Standard Liège (a 1-0 loss).
Scored 20 minutes into his top-flight debut against Zulte Waregem, a nonchalant back-heel to convert a low cross. “After scoring I dived into a sea of happiness,” he said.
Still only 16, he was the 15-goal top scorer in his first full season in the Belgian top flight as Anderlecht won the title.
Went one goal better the following season but Anderlecht missed out on the championship. Promptly joined Chelsea, taking the No18 shirt.
Chelsea (first spell)Failed to find the net in 15 outings for Chelsea in all competitions. Indeed, he made only one league start in three seasons on their books a man-of-the-match performance against Blackburn on the final day of 2011/12.
Spent 2012/13 and 2013/14 on loan at West Brom (17 goals) and Everton (16) respectively.
EvertonOne of only four players after Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler and Wayne Rooney to reach 80 Premier League goals before the age of 24.
Finished 2016/17 with 25 Premier League goals, making him the first Everton player since Gary Lineker in 1985/86 to score 20 or more in a league season.
Scored in nine successive home league games during 2016/17, matching the club record set by Dixie Dean in 1934.
His 68 Premier League goals for Everton is more than any other player has scored for the club.
Manchester UnitedScored on his debut for the club in the UEFA Super Cup, Premier League and UEFA Champions League on his way to racking up ten goals in his first nine appearances, breaking Bobby Charlton’s club record.
Became the fifth youngest player to reach 100 Premier League goals, taking 216 games to reach his century.
InterMatched Ronaldo’s record of nine goals in his first 11 league games for the club and became the first Nerazzurri player to score 15 away goals in a Serie A season for 70 years.
Scored in the UEFA Europa League final against Sevilla to make it 11 consecutive appearances in the competition with a goal the longest run by a player in UEFA Cup/Europa League history.
Reached 50 goals for the club in only 70 matches seven games quicker than previous record-holder Ronaldo.
Top scorer with 24 league goals as Inter won their first Scudetto for 11 years in 2020/21.
ChelseaRejoined Chelsea on a five-year deal in August 2021.
BelgiumThird youngest player to appear for Belgium, winning his first cap aged 16 against Croatia in February 2010. In November of that year, then 17, he scored his first senior goals for his country in a 2-0 friendly victory away to Russia.
Became Belgium’s all-time top scorer with 31 goals in June 2018, breaking a three-way tie with Bernard Voorhoof and Paul Van Himst.
Since the start of 2016, Lukaku has scored 56 goals in 52 internationals. Was the sole Belgium player named in the UEFA EURO 2020 Team of the Tournament after scoring four in five games.
What you might not know
The name Romelu is an acronym, composed of the first two letters of his father’s three names: Roger Menama Lukaku.
Lukaku has a rich footballing pedigree. His father Roger was capped at international level by Zaire, younger brother Jordan plays for Lazio at left-back and cousin Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo is at Celtic.
Lukaku speaks Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Lingala, English, Italian and also understands German.
What he says
“When they talk about [Robert] Lewandowski, [Karim] Benzema, [Luis] Suárez, [Harry] Kane, they say they are world class but with me it’s always about being in good form. In the last two years I think I have shown it’s not just good form. I belong with that group. I am at that level.”On his performances over the past two seasons
“Things didn’t work. Things have to be said as they are: if a better offer comes from somewhere else or you can try something different, why not try it? I did it and I saw that works.”On leaving Manchester United for Inter
“I don’t like people talking to me about the Champions League. It wasn’t me, but my team that won. When [Salomon] Kalou put the cup on my lap in the bus I asked him to take it away immediately. I didn’t want to touch it because I had no part in it at all.”On Chelsea winning the Champions League in 2012
“The relationship I have with this club means so much to me, as you know. I have supported Chelsea as a kid and now to be back and try to help them win more titles is an amazing feeling.”On rejoining Chelsea in 2021
What he might achieve yet
Lukaku did not score in the UEFA Champions League (group stage to final) until 2017 but now has 13 goals. The Belgian record of 17, set by Luc Nilis and Van Himst, will surely fall soon.
Jan Ceulemans and Lukaku are the only Belgian internationals to score at two different EUROs. The Chelsea striker looks a good bet to complete his hat-trick in 2024.
At EURO 2020, Cristiano Ronaldo equalled former Iran forward Ali Daei’s world record of 109 international goals. Lukaku is 45 adrift but, at 28, is eight years younger than the Portuguese. The heir to the throne?

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