Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku is a refreshed man looking to make an impact once again. After joining Antonio Conte’s side from Manchester United for a club-record fee, Lukaku has hit the ground running in Italy, scoring two goals across his first two league games. He has now been backed by former Inter attacker Andy van der Meyde to outscore Cristiano Ronaldo and possibly win the capocannoniere award this season.
While managing just 12 goals in the Premier League last season for the Red Devils, Van der Meyde believes Lukaku will shine in Serie A and can easily outscore Ronaldo.
“Lukaku is a fan of Italian football and I think he’s made for this competition,” van der Meyde told Juvenews.eu.
“He is strong and can score many goals. He has a very powerful physical structure and this will put all Italian defences in crisis.
Lukaku can easily beat Ronaldo. He has always shown that he knows how to score wherever he has played, he is a pure centre-forward, while Cristiano plays most of the time out wide.”
Ronaldo has shown no signs of slowing down in front of goal however, and after scoring four goals against Lithuania on Tuesday, is closing in on the record for most international goals scored by a single player.
In his first Serie A season with Juventus, the 34-year-old scored 21 times and already has one goal from two appearances this campaign.
With both Lukaku and Ronaldo set to supply plenty of goals, the league race looks like it could be tighter this season with Inter currently top of the table on goal difference.
After a strong summer of signings and with Antonio Conte at the helm, Van der Meyde thinks Inter are on the right track and Lukaku could supply his side with goals that could tip the scudetto in Inter Milan’s favour?
Is there a possibility that Lukaku could outscore Ronaldo? Apparently there is and here are the reasons why it may probably happen.
Ronaldo might be phenomenal but we can’t ignore he’s now 34 years old. And while a player of his calibre has never shown any signs of letting down, the reality is that he’s at a declining stage of career and can do nothing to counter the physical incapacities he may now be facing.
The fact that last season saw him amass his lowest goal tally in a decade goes further to prove the above context.
Compared to a “hungry” Romelu Lukaku at 26 who is still young and has his peak ages ahead of him. Lukaku naturally would have the attributes that could tip the odds in his favour.
Ronaldo might no longer be able to go for the incredible and acrobatic goals we have seen him score time and time over the years. He’ll be leaning towards team goals and less difficult attempts.
Also, his age means he would struggle for consistent fitness levels which can come in play where there is a hectic run of fixtures – especially as Juventus are in the Champions League as well.
Antonio Conte’s track record
The Italian coach has a good track record with centre forwards. The likes of Diego Costa, Carlos Tevez, Alvaro Morata (Juventus) and Goran Pandev to name a few are examples of centre forwards who have blossomed under the tutelage of Conte’s tactics.
Surprisingly, Antonio Conte and his opposite counterpart at Juventus, Maurizio Sarri both have similar tactics that heavily relies on having a prolific centre forward.
For Ronaldo, the return of Higuain has meant the Portuguese has been spending less time centrally than he would have loved to. His heatmap from the first five games of last season compared to his heatmap of his five games so far under Maurizio Sarri only proves the point further.
As I highlighted in my previous article that this factor could ultimately be the reason Ronaldo might have lesser attacking numbers this season.
Lukaku, on the other hand, was brought in by Conte to be the main centre forward for his team. Meaning the Belgian would be the focal point for most of his side’s chances created and is likely to get a large chunk of his side’s goals.
Also the fact that Conte has been a long term admirer of Lukaku and vice versa could mean fireworks as both of them are now united.
Hunger for silverware and personal glory
We can easily say Lukaku has been one of the most unlucky strikers in the past decade. For all of his goals which amount to more than 100 career goals at the moment – it’s interesting to note that the Belgian has never won a golden boot talk less of a trophy with a senior side.
Ronaldo has achieved literally what any player can dream to achieve and at this stage, it’s just a case of remaining professional for the Portuguese international.
Meanwhile, Lukaku will be eager to earn some personal glory of his own and perhaps his introduction to a new terrain could see him blossom even further. What better way to earn more personal glory and silverware alongside than to work hard as a striker to lead the charts and potentially give your side a chance of winning the league as well. It’s definitely one the Belgian would have on his mind.
Ronaldo at 33 years of age might have bagged 21 league goals last season but those numbers are now under serious competition from the likes of Lukaku and even teammate Gonzalo Higuain.
Lukaku is now in a brand new league and will be relishing the challenge to impose himself once more after a sour end to his United career. The atmosphere, coach and personnel in terms of teammate all pose the perfect blend the Belgian will most likely thrive on.
If there’s anyone that could easily outscore Cristiano Ronaldo in the Serie A, Lukaku is definitely the top candidate this season.