This week’s hero is a multi-lingual 26-year-old Belgian striker now bestriding Serie A in Inter Milan. Now, in his sixth club since 2008 at a career that has seen him rack up 435 games. He has scored a grand total of 203 goals because time, which, by some standards, is pretty phenomenal, particularly since he is not played especially stellar teams like Everton, West Brom, and Manchester United
Until his move to Inter from United, there had been a pervading feeling among the footballing cognoscenti that he had not been quite valued enough. He scored almost a goal every other game for United, in a side that was malfunctioning, yet was sent out without a replacement being lined up is illustrative of the dismissive attitude towards him and his outstanding attributes.
There are people who’ve always suspected that there’s a racist undertone to some of the criticism. The language used to describe him is always that of physicality and seldom anything more complicated and this had led to him being viewed basically as a blundering large number nine and little else when that’s far from the truth.
To hear him speak quite articulately about the poverty and racism of his youth, it is impossible not to feel respect and compassion for him. He actually has overcome a helluva lot on a professional and personal basis to emerge victorious.
That was my objective. Not good. Not great. The best. I played with this much anger, due to a great deal of things… because of the rats running around in our apartment… since I could not see the Champions League… because of how many other parents used to look at me. I had been on a mission. I scored them all wearing my dad’s shoes. Once our toes got to be the identical size, we used to share.”
He has been playing for his country since 2010 aged 17 and has scored 52 in 84 that is a fairly amazing global strike rate and he has to stand a great chance of being top scorer at this year’s Euros. A suitable smarty pants, he can speak French, Dutch, English, Portuguese, Spanish and a Congolese Swahili dialect, in addition to having the ability to understand German.
His two goals against Napoli in the weekend took his total to 16 in 23 in Italy this year.
The first this weekend was a remarkable counter-attacking run from inside his own half.
Everywhere Rom has played, scored complete shedloads. He’s as close to a guarantee of goals since you are likely to get, actually. After starting out at Anderlecht and scoring 41 in 98, he moved to Chelsea and became among the coterie of brilliant players who came at Stamford Bridge around the time and was immediately largely ignored. He left for West Brom after only 15 games without scoring – the only barren spell of his career so far besides a 12-game stretch in that awful Mourinho Manchester United side.
While United recouped their cash on the move to Italy, there was a general atmosphere of what the hell are they doing?’ About the movement, not least because he was their top scorer at a group that could rather be described as quite damn ordinary. Right now, There’s large Rom-shaped hole in the group and it is emblematic of the club thought-free planning and ability to alienate Terrific players
He has suffered racial abuse by some Cagliari lovers in a season that, to say the least, has barely shone a favorable light on Serie A and its own administration.
When you look at footage of his goals, what’s clear is that if anybody still harbours the notion he’s only a big centre forward who utilizes his 6ft 3ins framework to bully defenders, that’s so far from the truth. Yes, he’s physically imposing but really, that fundamental major number nine role he was asked to play is, some may say, all too typical of English football’s least innovative traditions. He’s so much more than that.
Sometimes he plays more like a skilful, nippy winger or broad guy, frequently on the left. And as a lifelong fan of Real Ronaldo, it’s impossible not to see at least a few parallels with the excellent man when he is bearing down on goal at rate and lashing one to the corner.
His other resources are often overlooked. At Everton he left 20 aids across four seasons; in his first season at United he supplied seven. At Inter, he appears to be playing with greater freedom and is scoring all kinds of goals, from close-range headers to long-range strikes cutting from both right and left, in addition to using his pace to outstrip tardy defences.
Reading his life story would be to see life, to this day, fighting racial stereotypes and tropes. Throughout it all, he comes across as exceptionally firm-minded, royal and driven.
‘When things were going well, I had been reading newspaper posts and they were calling me Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian striker. If you do not like how I play, that is fine. However, I was born here. I’ll begin a sentence in French and complete it in Dutch, and I will throw in some Spanish or Portuguese or Lingala, depending on what neighborhood we are in. We are all Belgian. That is what makes this country cool, right?’
Fans who felt he was under-appreciated in their club are now looking at him really blossoming in Italy and wondering what could have been.
One constantly anxieties in England that when the tabloid press decides to stick into a participant, it temporarily influences enough to find the notions they are being marketed set in their own head. I believe we could point to the booing of Raheem Sterling by England fans for evidence of this. So I guess even now in certain peoples’ mind’s eye, Rom is merely the lumbering giant he was reported or depicted as being. That he is not considered, because most heinous of sayings,’world class’ — that is a mostly meaningless term that still seems to obsess those that must rate everybody from first to last in some type of philosophical list, to make sense of this chaos of the world. And I do wonder if some of the negativity influenced the reduced volume of responses that I got this week.
‘He has an exceptional scoring record, but similar to Higuain in his prime, he is still just that degree below world-class’
‘How he left this country with a load of criticism ringing in his ears I will never understand. Can look a little awkward at times, but his record speaks for itself. Wonderful player.’
A seasoned proven PL goalscorer. Not surprised he is doing well in Serie A.”Play to his strengths and he’ll get your goals, a lot of them.’
With Inter topping the league right now and threatening to violate Juve’s stranglehold on the name, he is sure to complete as their top scorer and thus be acclaimed a hero for a mythical win.
In what looks set to be a really competitive latter phases of this contest, a route to the closing is far from out of the question.
His four years in Everton are the longest stretch so far at the same club, so a move away from Italy, especially given the vile racist atmosphere that appears to be ever-present, would not be too shocking within a couple of years. Now 26, one more big challenge surely expects before completing his career back in Belgium. Given his ability to comprehend so many languages, the entire world is his oyster.
One feels he is still, in some ways, trying to prove himself to doubters. Maybe that is what pushes him more than anything. He does seem to need to fight more battles than many who are on top of the profession. Nevertheless, it is undoubtedly that Rom is presently among the best, best, most reliable strikers playing in world football and if he chooses to move again, he’ll have his choice of the cream of world soccer clubs as suitors and will continue to be a truly and truly inspirational man.