The name of Romelu Lukaku emerges whenever you think of the top best strikers in Europe in the last decade. Without question, the Belgian forward is world class, and has graced the dressing rooms of English football giants Chelsea and Manchester United, before ending up at Serie A heavyweights Inter Milan. With 52 goals for Belgium, he is also the all time top goalscorer of his country. However, the most unfortunate fact about Lukaku is, the player hasn’t tasted any silverware in the last decade.
Romelu Lukaku became both the hero and the villain during the UEFA Europa League final against Sevilla FC, scoring 5 minutes into the game, as well as an own goal towards the end, as the Spanish side lifted their sixth Europa League trophy as the match ended 2-3 for the Nerazzuri, who are also trophy less for the last 9 years.
Coming so close to winning a trophy in such a long time for both himself and the club, and losing it in an instant surely made a negative impact on Lukaku, as the 27 year old was nowhere to be seen when Inter was collecting the runners up medals.
2009-10 Belgian Pro League, Romelu Lukaku holds a trophy
The year when the youngster got on the radar on the European elites. The 2009-10 season of Belgium’s top tier football system was the young striker’s rise to fame, as he won the season with Anderlecht, as well as became the top goalscorer with 15 goals.
The very next year, Chelsea brought the young Belgian to Stamford Bridge for €20 million, and a five year contract, on glittering hopes of the next big star of English football.
Chelsea wins the Champions League, not Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku’s arrival at Chelsea begun with a Man of the Match performance against Blackburn Rovers. However, with the likes of Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres present in the first team, the young forward ended up being in the reserve team for the rest of the season.
At the same season, Chelsea went onto win the UEFA Champions League for the first time, as well as a FA Cup win. However, not being a part of the first team, those trophies sparked no joy for the Belgian, as he had said “It wasn’t me, but my team that won.”
Missing the penalty, missing the UEFA Super Cup
The 2013 UEFA Super Cup was the first European title that Lukaku came very close to winning, as he came off as a sub for Torres in the final against Bayern Munich. Unfortunately, he himself missed the decider penalty shot against the imposing Manuel Neuer, and another silverware slipped right through his hand
In 2012, Lukaku joined West Bromwich Albion on a year long loan, where he landed an appreciable performance of 17 goals off 35 matches. The next year, he went onto another loan spell at Everton, the club that became his permanent in 2014, as his dry stint with the Blues came to an end after three years.
Exciting at Everton, and a stellar move to Old Trafford
The former Blues striker thrived at Everton. From being a reserve team player and a loaner at Chelsea, the forward quickly gathered first team Premier League experience with the Toffees, and scored a stunning 53 goals in 110 appearances across three seasons. Now a goal machine at Goodison Park, Lukaku caught the notice of José Mourinho.
The ‘Chosen One’, who was on his second year with Manchester United, landed Lukaku at the Old Trafford for five years, on a whopping £75 million transfer fee. His stint with the Red Devils started off brilliantly, scoring 10 goals in his first 9 appearances for United, breaking the record of club legend Sir Bobby Charlton. On 31st March 2018, Lukaku became the 5th youngest player to score 100 PL goals when he scored against Swansea.
Plentiful goals, still no silverware
Even though Lukaku became a seasoned goalscorer at United, his drought of trophies still continued, as the club’s collective performance was dropping. The 2018 season started horribly for United, as they lad lost ten of the first 17 PL games, which resulted in Mourinho’s sacking in December, and the arrival of former club talisman Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
The Norwegian preferred a younger attack in his team, and the young English forward Marcus Rashford became a regular starter in Lukaku’s place. United finished 6th in the league table, and was eliminated by FC Barcelona in the Chamopions League quarter finals, another trophy-less season for Lukaku.
The journey to San Siro with a new hope
Falling out of the regular starting XI, Lukaku decided to switch sides with Italian giants Inter Milan along with his fellow United player Alexis Sánchez, the latter who joined them on loan and has made his move permanent this year.
Lukaku’s form didn’t drop, as he continued to be a regular goalscorer, netting the ball 23 times for Inter and becoming the third highest goalscorer in Serie A last season.
However, the Nerazzuri finished second in the table, just one point behind the champions Juventus. Add to that, the loss against Sevilla in the Europa League final, and Lukaku still remains just a hair’s breadth away from tasting silverware.