Lukaku's history of controversial interviews after Chelsea criticism

Questioning Everton’s ambition, talking up a move to Italy while at Man United, and claiming he was a scapegoat for ‘s**t going bad’… Romelu Lukaku’s history of public criticism after latest bombshell interview

  • READ: Romelu Lukaku stunned Chelsea with a bombshell interview to Italian TV
  • READ: Thomas Tuchel said the striker has upset the ‘calm and focus’ at Chelsea
  • The latest interview did not surprise all with outspoken Lukaku having a history
  • Back at Everton in 2017, Lukaku openly questioned the ambitions of the Toffees
  • At Manchester United he slammed critics as he felt he was made a scapegoat 

Romelu Lukaku’s bombshell interview this week in which he revealed he is not happy at Chelsea, just four months after returning to the club, didn’t catch everyone by surprise. 

Fans at Everton and Manchester United have seen this movie before and while there was widespread disbelief at Lukaku’s remarks, which were given to Sky Sports Italia early in December but released on Thursday, many pulled up the Belgian’s rap sheet.

While at Everton the striker questioned the ambitions of the Merseyside club to win trophies, fans felt he went back on his word to sign a new deal while at Manchester United he left under a cloud where he felt he was being scapegoated for ‘s**t going bad’ at Old Trafford.

Romelu Lukaku is not enjoying his return to Chelsea having signed from Inter in the summer

The Belgian has previous for speaking his mind at both Everton (left) and Man United (right)

‘Physically I am fine. But I’m not happy with the situation at Chelsea,’ Lukaku told Sky Sports in Italy. 

‘Tuchel has chosen to play with another system – I won’t give up, I’ll be professional. I am not happy with the situation but I am professional – and I can’t give up now.’

He added: ‘I really, genuinely from the bottom of my heart hope to come back to Inter, not at the end of my career, but while I am still at the level to win more trophies.’

In light of his latest controversial remarks, Sportsmail goes back through the archives to see Lukaku’s previous with speaking his mind – and what this latest episode could mean for his Chelsea future… 

Lukaku questions Everton’s ambitions to ‘win big trophies’

Everton fans were less than impressed at their star striker when, at an interview given at the club’s Finch Farm training ground, he questioned their ambition to go on and win trophies. 

‘Obviously, stuff is changing and stuff is happening but there were some players that we could have got, that I knew the club could have got, and they didn’t get,’ Lukaku told a Kick It Out event in 2017. 

‘And they are playing in this league. I am not saying names but they are doing well. 

‘Everton as a football club has a great history. But the future has to be written. You get me? Because we always talk about the teams of the 80s and 70s, and if you look it was great. But we as players, we want the fans talking about us instead of us talking about them.

Ronald Koeman (left) was furious with an interview by Lukaku when he questioned ambition

‘You want to be remembered as well. No matter where you play you want to be remembered. You cannot only be remembered by scoring goals, you want to be remembered by winning trophies.

‘That is what the fans want. So instead of living in the past, you have to think ahead. How this club has to grow, how this club has to improve, which player does it want to bring in so you can challenge for the big trophies?’

Rightly, Everton fans and senior management felt slighted by the Belgian’s comments and manager Ronald Koeman took a dim view of the interview. 

Koeman said by way of response: ‘Of course I am not happy about that interview. If Everton is not a club with a lot of ambition I would not be manager. But I am not so afraid about his situation because the player has more than two years on his contract. Everyone knows what can happen in football but you need to respect your contract.’ 

The seed had already been planted that Lukaku’s marriage with Everton was edging ever closer to a divorce despite hopes at Goodison Park that he may commit to a new deal to help Everton achieve the trophies he spoke of. 

JUNE 2017

Lukaku says staying at Everton is ‘not really an option’ 

Having questioned the club’s appetite to win trophies a matter of months prior, Lukaku hardly won back the hearts of Everton fans when he said staying at Goodison was ‘not really an option’. 

The Belgian was under contract and yet when away with Belgium he spoke with an assurance that a deal was being negotiated to move him elsewhere in England.  

‘For the time being, England is the best for me,’ he said at a Belgium press conference.

It became something of a running joke that Lukaku caused controversy when with Belgium

‘My attorney is now talking to a club. I know where I want to go. I just stay patient. I know that appointments have been made. I’m just waiting for a call.

‘I’m now six years in the Premier League, I know the competition inside out. I’m almost 100 goals in the league, which is a milestone I want to achieve. The Premier League is a dream for me. I want to win the Premier League as often as possible. But I also want the Champions League, the FA Cup and all the other prizes.

‘Staying at Everton is not really an option, I think.’ 

It turned out the club in question was Manchester United and while Everton recouped £75million for him, many knew the writing was on the wall after the controversy caused back in March. 


Lukaku talks up a switch to Italy – one year after joining Manchester United 

Talking up a move just a year after your last one is not the best of looks – but it is exactly what Lukaku did.

Asked if he would ever consider a future switch to Italy, the then-Manchester United forward said: ‘Why not? I hope it happens.’ 

Former United icons including Gary Pallister felt Lukaku had disrespected the Old Trafford side and others were unimpressed by his timing. 

Pallister, who made over 300 appearances for United, told told 888sport: ‘I think it’s disrespectful at times if you start mentioning other clubs when you’re actually contracted to the club you’re at. 

‘If it’s in your mind I’ve got no problem with that but to put it in print I’ve got a problem with that.’

AUGUST 2019 

Lukaku tears into Manchester United’s treatment of him 

This one really left little unsaid.  

In the weeks before his exit from Manchester United, avid NBA fan Lukaku made an appearance on the LightHarted Podcast, run by New Orleans Pelicans ace Josh Hart.

Lukaku speaks for more than an hour about topics including his start at Chelsea, his loan spells, joining RocNation and a potential future in Major League Soccer (MLS).

But it was his stinging criticism of Manchester United using him as a scapegoat for poor form that made global headlines. 

In an episode of the LightHarted Podcast, Lukaku ripped into Man United’s treatment of him

‘A lot of people are playing bad (at Manchester United) but they have to find a culprit so if they want to put the blame on me, f**k it, do what you got to do,’ Lukaku said. 

‘I’m here and playing, but at one point I will go. I’ll do something else. For me it was just s**t. The team has so much potential to do great stuff. A lot of talent, but it’s not only talent, it’s about building a team.

‘A lot of people don’t think I can be part of that team. For me, I’m just saying, if it’s like that, then we can go our separate ways.’

He went on to add: ‘A lot of stuff has been said where I didn’t feel protected.

‘I felt like a lot of rumours, ‘Rom going there’, ‘they don’t want Rom’, and nobody came out to shut it down. It was for a good three, four weeks. I’m waiting for someone to come out and shut it down. It didn’t happen.

‘I had my conversation, told them it was better to go our separate ways. If you don’t want to protect somebody, all these rumours come out. I just wanted you to say ‘Rom is going to fight for his place’, but it never happened for four, five months.’

It proved to be damning criticism of Manchester United – with Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez name-checked by the striker for receiving similarly unfair reputations.

Fans realised there was no way back for the Belgian under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and he was soon sent packing to Italy – where he had talked up previously, irking Pallister – to join Inter Milan.

It remains one of the most open, honest and forthright interviews Lukaku has ever given. 

MARCH 2020 

Lukaku sheds more light onto his Manchester United exit 

In a turn of events, Lukaku talked up Solskjaer wanting him to stay at United and that the decision to leave Old Trafford was his.

In a YouTube interview with Ian Wright back in March 2020, Lukaku said: ‘One bad year can happen to everybody in their career. It was just done for me. You know what happened behind the scenes, it was just done. For me, it was done.

‘It was a difficult situation where for myself I had to make a decision where I have to go somewhere where I can learn other aspects of my game and work with somebody that wanted me as well. 

‘Ole wanted me to stay, but I told him I was over. I didn’t have the energy.’


Lukaku speaks to Italian TV to say he is ‘not happy’ at Chelsea 

Now to this week and an interview to Sky Sports Italia which both talked up a return to Inter as well as criticising his time at Chelsea since going back in the summer for £98million.

Lukaku had given the interview at the start of December and has since come back into the side, and back into the goals, for Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel.

But the comments have caused major headlines and headaches at Stamford Bridge and it is the last thing the Blues needed as their bid for the Premier League title falters. 

In his latest bombshell comments he explained his unhappiness with the ‘situation at Chelsea’

‘Physically I am fine. But I’m not happy with the situation at Chelsea,’ Lukaku said.

‘Tuchel has chosen to play with another system – I won’t give up, I’ll be professional. I am not happy with the situation but I am professional – and I can’t give up now.’

He added: ‘I really, genuinely from the bottom of my heart hope to come back to Inter, not at the end of my career, but while I am still at the level to win more trophies.’

Tuchel was naturally unimpressed by the ‘noise’ Lukaku generated with such a bombshell interview. 

‘We don’t like it of course. It brings noise that we don’t need and it’s not helpful,’ Tuchel said in his press conference on Friday. 

‘We don’t want to make more out of it than it actually is. It is easy to take lines out of context, shorten lines, make headlines and then realise later that it is not so bad and maybe not what he meant.

Lukaku rejoined for £98million and Chelsea will need to find a solution to satisfy the striker

‘We don’t like it, I don’t like it because it’s noise that we don’t need. We need a calm environment and focus and this does not help.’ 

Fans of Everton and Manchester United can joke among themselves that this is nothing new for the outspoken Belgian.

For Chelsea they will look to come to a solution which satisfies both Tuchel and Lukaku, given he came back for £98m and it is not in anyone’s interests to call time on that after a matter of months. 

But the ‘noise’ is once again deafening around Chelsea’s No 9 when it comes to his future. 

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