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Romelu Lukaku earned the respect of his idols by proving the only thing that matters to him is winning.
Now he wants to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Didier Drogba and Thierry Henry by finally becoming a Premier League champion.
Chelsea’s club record £97.5m summer signing is already among the competition's 20 highest goalscorers – and Belgium's record scorer.
But it wasn't until he helped Inter Milan win their first Serie A title in 11 years that he really impressed the likes of Drogba and Henry.
And the 28-year-old says it’s not goalscoring records or individual awards he’s chasing on his return to Stamford Bridge – it’s silverware.
Lukaku said: “It’s not about records. It’s about winning trophies. I’ve realised how different people’s attitude is towards you when you win something.
“In conversations I had with Didier Drogba or Thierry Henry, the respect I have is different when you start winning.
“That was something I really wanted. I wanted to win so bad. I went to Inter and then we did. That’s the only thing that matters to me – winning.
“Scoring goals, yes, that’s beautiful. I know I am in a position where I can score a lot of goals. But winning trophies, that sets you apart.”
Lukaku has struggled with critics putting him down all his life. His character, workrate and desire have all been questioned.
But he learned from former Blues boss Antonio Conte in Italy that it takes blood sweat and tears to win.
And Lukaku is determined to give all that and more as Chelsea go hunting for Manchester City’s crown.
He said: “To learn how to win is basically pushing the barrier. With Antonio we really learnt how to go to the red zone.
“I don’t know if I’m the final piece of the jigsaw for Chelsea. You are talking about the European champions! But I am something different.”
Lukaku flopped in his previous spell at Chelsea, getting farmed out on loan to West Brom and Everton before being sold to the Merseysiders.
But he always felt like he would be back one day – and is utterly determined to seize his second chance.
Lukaku said: “I was young then. My journey has had a lot of ups and downs.
“But at the end of the day if you keep performing you know that you will always get a chance.
“My relationship with the club has always been great and now to be back at the perfect time is a good feeling.”
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- Chelsea FC
- Premier League
- Serie A
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