MILAN – Romelu Lukaku recently took part in a long interview on the television show 'Tiki Taka – Il calcio è il nostro gioco' on Italia 1, with Inter’s No.9 speaking to both Pierluigi Pardo and Christian Vieri, a former Nerazzurri striker.
Lukaku talked about the nickname he’s been given, his relationship with Antonio Conte and how he’s settling in in Serie A: “They call me the gentle giant and I like it, I try to be polite and respect everyone.
“The first time I came up against Conte was in Brussels when Belgium played Italy in a friendly. I noticed that he was playing with two attackers, Eder and Pellè, and they had a lot of chances. I understood that I’d have a lot of opportunities to score through this playing style and that it’d enhance my game. I spoke to him after that match and told him I’d join him in the future.
“Serie A is a different league compared to those I’ve played in before, the defenders here are the best in Europe. Training sessions are also different here, with there being a lot of focus on physique. The first two months were difficult, but I was always thinking about the future and what I could become. I’m young and want to carry on working to improve. In England, a lot of the matches are similar, but every game is different here. You can also fail to win matches where you only give away one opportunity, like what happened in Florence and Lecce.”
He’s been in Italy for just a few months but he’s adapted exceptionally well and managed to score in the #DerbyMilano: “It was a great feeling. Playing in Italy and for Inter was a dream for me. The first final that I saw as a youngster was Inter vs. Lazio, the UEFA Cup final in 1998. I wanted to play for Inter because I’ve always admired their great strikers: Ronaldo, Vieri and Adriano.
“My mentality is to always try to improve. Being 26, I’ve still not reached my full potential. The most important thing for me is to work every day to try to improve the things I’m less adept at.”
Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez have a good understanding up top: “Before I joined, I saw Inter play a friendly at Appiano Gentile. I immediately noticed the way in which he was playing and the movements he was making. I thought that we’d be able to help the team if we played well together. When I arrived, I called him and we became friends straight away. It helps that I can speak Spanish, this is how we communicate out on the pitch.”
Romelu’s Italian is already perfect, however: “I’ve learnt it by listening to commentaries of Serie A matches while watching my brother’s games. Life in Italy is great, my family and I are happy in Milan. Have there been any incidents of racism? I’ve only been subjected to this at the stadium, but I hope it will be the one and only time. Inter’s BUU Brothers Universally United campaign is great because football is important in this country. I’ll continue to fight because we players need to do our bit to improve the situation too.”
Finally, Lukaku spoke about the meaning of his bowing celebration: “When I arrived in Milan, many fans were waiting for me at Linate Airport. They displayed great love and affection, and this is why I bow. It’s to thank them.”