Inter striker Romelu Lukaku spoke about his decision to join Inter, racism in Italian football and two interesting stories about former teammate Paul Pogba and Cristiano Ronaldo in an interview with American newspaper the New York Times via Calciomercato.com today.
First, the 26-year-old Belgian striker touched on the recent incidents of racism in Italian football.
“I’ve been in situations like the Cagliari game so many times in my life. You build yourself a shield and I take my anger out on the shield. I always think, ‘Now I’m going to score, win and go home.’ Black Friday headline and the Three Monkeys campaign? I know I haven’t done enough. I say what I’m thinking, if something’s on my mind, I get up and I talk.”
Lukaku then revealed that he told former teammate Paul Pogba that he was planning to leave Manchester United whilst the club were in Australia last summer.
“I took him aside and told him I was done with Manchester United. There was a feeling that Pogba and I were guilty of the fall of Manchester United.”
The Nerazzurri forward spoke about how tiring it was receiving constant criticism whilst with the Red Devils.
“From the beginning it was a ‘Yes, but…’. I scored in the European Super Cup and they said, ‘Yes, but he got another one wrong’. When I first started out in the Premier League, I scored against West Ham and they said, ‘Yeah, but…’. Since then I imagined how it would feel to leave the club. One year at United erases the previous eight.”
Lukaku revealed that he spoke to Cristiano Ronaldo before joining Inter.
“I spoke to Cristiano Ronaldo before I came to Inter, and Ronaldo told me: ‘Serie A is the most defensive league in the world’. He told me he scored goals wherever he went, but Italy is the most difficult. And if Cristiano Ronaldo thinks so it must be true.”
Finally, Lukaku touched on his decision to leave the Premier League and his experiences learning Italian.
“Since March I had made the decision to start from scratch, to rebuild my reputation. I said to myself: ‘The Premier was good for me, but I had to leave’. Italian? It took me 2 or 3 weeks of hard work to learn it. Now nobody speaks English to me anymore.”
Lukaku has been an incredibly important part of the strong Inter squad this season. The 26-year-old has scored 14 goals and provided three assists in 22 appearances across all competitions, forming a formidable partnership with Lautaro Martinez.