Football: Romelu’s Ruinous Return

The Belgian star was expected to give Chelsea the killer instinct and cutting edge they needed to challenge for the Premier League title, but things haven’t exactly gone to plan.

Credit: Romelo Lukaku Instagram

By Jasper Harvey – 11th grade.

Romelu Lukaku’s return to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2021, nine years after he left, seemed as though it was a keystone in football history unfolding before our eyes. A young boy leaves the club as a teenager and returns as a mature man now fully ready to achieve greatness. But with only one win from their last seven games, Chelsea’s attempt at a title challenge following their surprise Champions League win in 2021 seems to have fallen apart. They currently sit in 2nd place, languishing 10 points behind league leaders Manchester City.

Romelu Lukaku, who has spent large portions of this season sidelined with injuries and covid, recently gave an interview to Sky Italia which infuriated Chelsea fans. In the interview Lukaku stated that he is unhappy with the current situation and frustrated by how the London club’s manager Thomas Tuchel has decided to utilize him. While the 28 year old hasn’t left a team to play for one of their biggest revivals, he has essentially spat in the face of a club that spent 97.5 million pounds (134 million dollars) on signing him from Inter Milan last summer, making him the club’s most expensive transfer to date. To add insult to injury, the Belgian forward expressed a desire to return to play for Inter Milan in the near future.

His fickle nature is emblematic of a larger problem facing world football

His remarks demonstrate a lack of loyalty and respect for his club, his manager, his teammates, and football itself. Following the interview, Lukaku was left out of the 18 man squad for a crucial game against 3nd place Liverpool. Lukaku has since made attempts to patch up his relationship with Thomas Tuchel, but the insulting nature of his statements remains. Even if Lukaku manages to reconcile with Tuchel, there remains the task of winning back the support of the Chelsea fans who will not take Lukaku’s disrespect lightly.

One highly followed Chelsea fan on twitter wrote: “Lots of work to be done on the pitch. Actions speak louder than words”. Disappointment is a sentiment shared by most fans of the Londonese club. They feel betrayed by his words and feel that he must earn their trust back by scoring goals and proving his loyalty to the club. It is up to him to do so. The Belgian striker will also be fined an unconfirmed sum by Chelsea. Lukaku’s worth as a player is certainly in question, as footballing talent does not excuse the impact that a lack of respect for one’s club has on the dressing room and atmosphere at the club.

His fickle nature is emblematic of a large problem facing world football at the moment: when players feel they are bigger than their club. With the increased power of agents and exorbitant wages players are paid, it is becoming increasingly frequent for players to develop substantial egos and put their own interests ahead of the club’s. The most infamous egotistical footballer who did so constantly is undoubtedly Mario Ballotelli. He has gotten into countless arguments with his managers, notably with Roberto Mancini when playing for Manchester City. One of the more recent events in which this occurred also involved Chelsea.

In a 2019 league cup tie against Manchester City, Chelsea’s keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga ignored his manager’s orders and refused to be substituted. Chelsea went on to lose the game on penalties. Lukaku’s disrespect to his club demonstrates all that is wrong with football today. 

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