Romelu Lukaku admitted it was a painful yet helpful first spell at Chelsea that has helped him become the man he is after arriving at the South London club initially in 2011 from Anderlecht. The Belgian returned to Stamford Bridge on a club record fee of £97.5m in the summer from Inter Milan, where he scored 64 goals in 95 games across all competitions.
Speaking to Chelsea’s official website the Belgian admitted he always had the desire to return back to the club. The forward said “It was painful and helpful, but I would say more helpful because it gave me the mentality and the mindset that I needed to become the player I am today.”
“The team was very good but nobody saw the extra work they did after the training sessions. As an 18-year-old, I saw first-hand every day how much the players worked on their craft. That’s when I knew that was what you had to do to become this type of player. I told myself “when I’m not playing, this is what I’m going to do” and it basically just became a lifestyle.”
“I knew I would improve as a player so it was just about timing. I had two opportunities to come back, in 2016 and 2017, but it didn’t happen for various reasons. In the end, it happened because now is the right time, the right age, the team is doing well and everything is there for it to be successful.”
On asked about what has changed when compared to his first spell Lukaku said “I’m much more calm. I’ve matured with fatherhood and I’m more laidback. After winning in Italy and knowing what it takes to get there, that really helped me. In the last three years, I’ve been able to build something that I can take on for the rest of my career.”
“It can be complicated but when you really set your mind to do something and you really dedicate everything that you have to that goal, you can achieve it. I recognised my little qualities and talent but I also knew what I was not good at and I really spent a lot of time working on those attributes to be the complete package.”
“Now, it feels good. I’m very happy with the opportunity and we’ve started really well as a team. My team-mates have made life very easy for me and the coach is doing a great job. Our performances have been good but we’re always looking for the next challenge.”
Source: Chelsea FC