Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku is one of several players in Jose Mourinho’s side to emerge from last season with a degree of credit. The Portuguese’s side struggled, both domestically and in Europe, but the former Everton and Chelsea man notched 27 goals in his debut campaign at Old Trafford, and impressed with his tenacity, delivery and vision, alongside a clear eye for goal.
The Belgian striker, currently on World Cup duty with Roberto Martinez’s side, has lifted the lid on his personal life with a hugely revealing look at his childhood.
In this piece featured on The Players Tribune site, Lukaku provided an incredible insight into his life growing up: “People in football love to talk about mental strength. Well, I’m the strongest dude you’re ever going to meet. Because I remember sitting in the dark with my brother and my mom, saying our prayers, and thinking, believing, knowing … it’s going to happen.
“I kept my promise to myself for a while. But then some days I’d come home from school and find my mum crying. So I finally told her one day, ‘Mum, it’s gonna change. You’ll see. I’m going to play football for Anderlecht, and it’s going to happen soon. We’ll be good. You won’t have to worry anymore.’
“I was six. I asked my father, “When can you start playing professional football?”
“He said, ‘Sixteen.’ I said, “O.K., sixteen then.’
“It was going to happen. Period.”
Stories of footballers recounting their hardships and their difficult route to the top of the game aren’t uncommon, but Lukaku’s is certainly one of the more personable to arrive in recent years. It speaks of his character and his drivr to provide for his family from such a young age, and such determination was frequently on show during his debut campaign at Old Trafford. Such insight will only endear him to United’s fanbase further.