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When Chelsea signed Romelu Lukaku as a buzzing 18-year-old back in 2011, it was expected that he’d go on to replace Didier Drogba in the near future.
Lukaku never really made it at Chelsea, and he was eventually sold to Everton, before moving on to Manchester United and now Inter Milan.
Now 27, Lukaku has now transformed into being a top striker in the Italian Serie A and one of the best in the world.
To mark his form, Lukaku has scored 11 goals in 13 Serie A appearances so far this season, including six in his last seven.
Lukaku has now marked himself as one of the top five strikers in the world at the moment.
Asked by Sport/Voetbalmagazine if he thought he was worthy of being mentioned in a top-five rank, Lukaku said: “Now? In the past five months, yes. I don’t want to rank that group from one to five, but I’m part of it right now.”
Lukaku went on to give credit to Jose Mourinho and Roberto Martinez for their roles in his development to the top.
He said: “Mourinho taught me to work better with the team, both in terms of pressing and to position me better on the field. Just look at what he’s doing with Harry Kane now.
“I used to love vertical football. I found myself to be most dangerous when I was facing the goal. I am fast, I can eliminate my direct opponent with a dribble, or swerve to the left or the right. That was my game in the past, also because I was often in teams that played on the counter. But the national team has obliged me to adjust my playing style.
“With Belgium, we quickly became a team that had the most possession and got the least space [to play in]. Roberto Martinez did everything he could to make me feel more comfortable with my back to goal, both with the national team and back at Everton.
“At the age of 20, I still had a lot to learn. But I soon realised that if I could train that aspect of my play, I could do what I wanted in a match.”
Lukaku is Belgium’s all-time top scorer, a record which he broke at age 24, and he is 25 clear of his nearest challenger in Eden Hazard.
With 57 goals in 89 games for Belgium, Lukaku has hailed breaking through at a young age as the reason for his success.
“My advantage is that I became a professional at a young age,” Lukaku pointed out.
“Despite my difficult first years with the national team, I was 100 per cent sure that I would one day become the top scorer of all time, not least because I have been surrounded by top players for years. If you have been on the field for so long, it makes sense that you will break a few records.”