The Belgium frontman has cemented a standing as one of the best No.9s in the business, but he claims to be able to do ‘a bit of everything’
Romelu Lukaku is one of the best No.9s in world football, but the Chelsea striker claims to hate his “goal poacher” reputation and believes he is at his most “dangerous” when fronting up opponents.
A remarkable record for club and country has seen the burly Belgian record 255 efforts on domestic stages and a further 67 strikes at international level.
He is a Premier League centurion, Serie A title winner and the all-time leading marksman for his nation, but Lukaku is eager to point out that he is about much more than hitting the back of the net.
What has been said?
Lukaku has told UEFA’s official website when asked about his biggest strengths: “The way I’m built – I’m quite big – everybody thinks I’m a sort of target man: just holding up the ball and being a goal poacher. But I’ve never played that way and I hate it.
“My biggest strength is that I’m dangerous when I’m facing towards the goal, because that’s when I rarely make wrong choices.
“After I pass the ball, I know where I have to position myself in the box. I can do a bit of everything and in some games when I know there is a lot of space behind the defence, I play differently.
“The reason I’m so productive [in front of goal] is because I can do a bit of everything.”
Is Lukaku proud of his record?
Lukaku has worked hard to reach the level he currently enjoys, with Chelsea making him their £98 million ($136m) club-record signing over the summer.
Questions are being asked of whether the Blues are using him correctly, but there is no such debate with Belgium as Lukaku – at just 28 years of age – now has 100 caps to his name and is 34 goals clear at the top of his nation’s scoring charts.
He added on that record, with his intention being to add to it during a bid for UEFA Nations League glory: “I didn’t really begin scoring goals straight away for the national team. It took me some time.
“But once I had settled in, I knew I would have opportunities to score and that the other players would enable me to do so. And everyone else started to score goals as well, not just me: Eden [Hazard], Kevin [De Bruyne], Dries [Mertens].
“That made me think that in attack, we have real top quality. And for me, it was like a sweet store: just constantly scoring goals.
“At some point, I stopped counting and just continued playing. And we also won our matches. That was the great achievement, you know: scoring and winning.
“I really hate to lose, but scoring and still losing is awful as well. I’m glad that we managed to win so many of our matches, but in the end you really just want to win a trophy and that’s what truly motivates me.”
Belgium are set to take on France in the semi-finals of the Nations League on Thursday, with the victors going on to face Spain or Euro 2020 winners Italy in the final.