Inter did a great job in the Champions League final. Most of the fans expected an easy game for Manchester City, but the Italians surprised everyone. Inzaghi’s team did not hesitate to take the ball and possess it, actively press, give up low defense… The most important thing is that Inter did not allow City to show their strongest qualities. But in the Italian club there was an antihero: Romelu Lukaku. He himself missed a couple of great scoring chances and also botched a teammate’s scoring chance.
The entire season is a complete pain for the Belgian. He “buried” not only Inter’s chances in the Champions League, but also the Belgian national team at the World Cup in Qatar. What happened to Romelu anyway?
Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images
Lukaku’s problems began in 2021. He had a great season at Inter and then Chelsea arrived. The Londoners returned the Belgian, who played in the team from 2011 to 2014, for €113 million (the most expensive transfer in the club’s history at the time). But Chelsea expected more from an expensive player. In 44 games of the season, Lukaku scored just 15 goals. And in January 2022 he gave a well-known interview in which he expressed his love for Inter and his dissatisfaction with the situation at Chelsea: “Someday I will return to Inter. But not to finish my career, but at the top of my form: so that we can take trophies and win. I constantly think of Milan, of Milan, of Milan. Inter fans are the best in the world. I love this city, the best period of my career happened there. I love Italy and Inter is in my heart. I am in a situation where I think Tuchel could release me more often. But that doesn’t mean I’m criticizing him. On the contrary: I respect his choice. I just have to work and bide my time. Tuchel and I are trying to find a tactical scheme in which we understand each other”.
Lukaku angered management, Chelsea fans and Tuchel. In the summer, the Londoners got rid of the destructive player by sending him on loan to their beloved Inter. “It’s a strong feeling, I remember what I felt a year ago with this team and it was a great moment for the team, the fans and for me. We talked about many things, for example, that it seemed impossible to return here, but we did, and I also have to thank the president of the club for continuing to insist and believing that this is possible”, said the striker. after the transition.
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However, for the first time, Lukaku fared better at Inter. For example, he finished the 2020/2021 season with 30 goals and 10 assists in 44 games. And he closes the current campaign with a line-up of 14 goals and seven assists in 37 games. And the transfer value of him (according to Transfermarkt) has gone from 100 to 40 million euros.
What are the reasons for failure in the current season?
Lukaku has missed meetings due to injuries from time to time. But the 2022/2023 season is an anomaly. Due to hamstring, hamstring and other knee problems, he missed 18 games. The worst indicator before this is nine games away from Chelsea in the 2021/2022 season (he missed three due to coronavirus). Romelu has a hard time getting in shape, and then there are the permanent injuries that prevented him from getting in shape. This was reflected in the performance and the place at the start. Forward Edin Dzeko became Inter’s main striker, while Lukaku appeared more frequently from the bench.
The injuries influenced Romelu’s form and she, in turn, influenced the Belgian’s visual impressions. Lukaku looked heavy, unable to do the amount of work required of him. And most importantly, he often missed incredible scoring chances. Quintessential – match of the 3rd round of the 2022 World Cup with Croatia (0:0). Romelu came on as a substitute early in the second half and hit five shots, but only hit the target twice. The first episode occurred in the 60th minute, when Lukaku hit the post, even though Livakovic was in the net. And two minutes later, Romelu missed the goal again from a lethal position, but he headed higher. Then Lukaku screwed up 100% chance two more times at the end. One goal was enough for Belgium to reach the playoffs, but Romelu deprived the team of this opportunity.
Romelu Lukaku at the 2022 World Cup
Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, Championship
Lukaku’s nightmare in the Champions League final
In Serie A, there were no such terrible performances from Lukaku (although there were funny mistakes), but the Belgian definitely wants to forget the Champions League final against Manchester City as soon as possible. He appeared on the field in the 57th minute in place of the injured Edin Dzeko. Lukaku screwed up at the first moment in minute 71. He is indirectly to blame: Romelu got in the way of the ball after Federico Dimarco’s header on goal, which Ederson left. This yes, the defender of the Inter did not give the blow more hard and, perhaps, Ruben Dias, that was in door, could have stopped it. But still, it was an iron chance. And, unfortunately for Lukaku, he was the one who screwed it up.
Then the Inter striker missed a decisive moment on 88 minutes. Robin Gosens fired a cross into the center of the penalty area and Lukaku headed in from five yards but managed to hit Ederson’s leg. If the blow had gone from one side, Inter would have rebounded. And a minute later, Lukaku from an advantageous position hit the City goal hard. According to the results of the match, the WhoScored portal gave the Belgian a score of 6.04. Worse in “Inter” (of those who spent at least 30 minutes on the field) – only Hakan Calhanoglu (5.94, missed an important match). Sky Sports named Lukaku worst man of the match with a score of 4/10.
The Belgian failed in the two most important meetings of the season for himself. The situation was partly influenced by Lukaku’s injuries and his poor physical condition for most of the season (he still looked very good towards the end). But it is difficult to find objective factors why the ball fails to magnetize Romel in important games or escapes from anywhere, but not into the goal.
Some of our best photos from the final include a shot of the Belgian:
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Inter president Steven Zhang did not answer after the final if Lukaku would stay at the club: “Romelu loves Inter, it’s obvious. He is a great guy, but he has a contract with Chelsea. We have to wait and communicate with the club to clarify the future of Lukaku.” The striker needs to forget the whole season. And regardless of where Romelu starts, get fit and show his best qualities. Those problems that happen to him are reflected in the Player perception by the public.It is unlikely that he deserved a negative reputation.Lukaku in his heyday is one of the top 5 forwards in the world.
The media reacted ambiguously to the results of the Champions League final:
“The best defeat in the history of Inter. Not everyone in Europe is thrilled with City’s triumph