Romelu Lukaku has given his first interview after the return to Inter and there were several swipes at Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel, says ‘I remained in contact with Simone Inzaghi throughout last season, the teammates are my brothers.’
The striker left for a club record transfer fee of €113m last summer, having won the Serie A title, but immediately regretted it and had already been working on a comeback since at least his Sky Sport Italia interview in December 2021.
Now he is back on loan for €8m plus bonuses, accepting a 35 per cent pay cut to push through the move, and will wear the Number 90 jersey.
“It’s a strong feeling, I think back to what I felt a year ago with this team and it was a great moment for the team, the fans and me personally,” said the Belgium international.
“Inter gave me so much and I now hope to do even better than before.”
He was announced via a video on the roof of the Inter headquarters with President Steven Zhang, who said there was a sense of déjà vu.
“We talked about many things, like how it seemed impossible for me to come back here, but we did it, and I have to thank him too for continuing to push and believe it was possible. We did it in the end and I am very happy.
“It’s like coming back home. I think that my family and I were really happy in Milano thanks to the fans and my teammates. From the first day I arrived, everyone helped me so much.
“I kept hold of my home when I went to England, so that shows you something. Now I just want to get back on the field with the lads.”
What convinced Lukaku to come back to Inter just a year after leaving, especially as it will be with Simone Inzaghi rather than Antonio Conte?
“The affection of the fans and my teammates, but also the opportunity to work with the coach. I remained in contact with him throughout all of last season.
“I think the coach is doing well with the squad, so I want to contribute to doing what is best for this club.”
It’s safe to say Lukaku did not fit in with the tactics or man-management style of Thomas Tuchel, but he is a big fan of Inzaghi.
“I saw the team play really well last season. I was disappointed they weren’t able to win the Scudetto, but they won two very important trophies (the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana). Many players improved a great deal, we must continue like this.
“Now we are in a position to launch a challenge to all the others: we want to prepare the new season and continue the journey we are on.”
It had been reported over the last couple of weeks that Lukaku was busy ringing all his Inter teammates, and he confirmed that is absolutely true.
“I spoke to practically everyone. I thank them all, because I wanted to return here, but they also pushed for my comeback. I must thank them, because they are like a family: they are my brothers.”
There was another swipe at the criticism he received when playing for Chelsea under Tuchel.
“I am not an individualistic player, I always think about the team. I want Inter to win and will do everything possible both in training and on the pitch to help Inter win.”
Does he have a message for the fans?
“I am happy to be back here. I will give my all every day to make the fans and my teammates happy again.”