Romelu Lukaku has made a sensational return to Inter Milan after a nightmarish second stint at Chelsea.
The Belgium striker endured a season to be forgotten after joining the Blues for £98m last summer as he struggled massively for form on the pitch and also created friction with an explosive interview.
Lukaku, who was greeted by fans at Milan airport when he landed on Tuesday, has now swapped England for Italy – again – returning to Serie A giants Inter, the team who he left for Chelsea last year, on a one-year loan deal. .
“Romelu Lukaku will spend the 2022-23 campaign with Inter Milan after completing a season-long loan,” Chelsea said in a statement.
Romelu Lukaku has made a sensational return to Inter Milan on loan from Chelsea
Lukaku endured a torrid time at Stamford Bridge following his £98million move from Inter last summer
The Belgian striker is back at the Italian giants after agreeing a season-long loan deal
Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta all but confirmed the deal on Tuesday when he said: “We have to thank the availability of the presidency and the owners. I hope it can be closed, not in a few hours, but in a few days.
“We can’t make it official yet,” he added. “He’s a returning player who has done very well with us and we’re happy to bring him home.”
The 29-year-old has scored just eight Premier League goals in the 2021-22 campaign, failing to match the performances that encouraged Chelsea to splash the cash in the first place.
Lukaku’s first stint at Inter began in the summer of 2019 and he fired Antonio Conte’s side to the Scudetto in the 2020-21 season, scoring 24 Serie A goals.
Still, he has made it clear he wants to return to Chelsea – for whom he played from 2011 to 2014 – and made his return for the Blues in 2021.
Fitness issues and his infamous interview with Sky Italia, published in December and where he admitted he was “not happy” at Chelsea, meant he fell out of favor with manager Thomas Tuchel.
Lukaku started the FA Cup final against Liverpool but couldn’t score a vital goal to guide the Blues to a trophy this season.
A few months before the World Cup, the striker will be aware of the need to play football regularly in order to consolidate his starting place for Belgium in Qatar.
Lukaku fell out of favor with Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel due to poor form and interview
Lukaku has four years left on his contract at Stamford Bridge but said he wants to return to San Siro in the explosive interview over the festive period.
However, the Italian giants find themselves with limited funds and are walking a tightrope of financial fair play.
Lukaku stunned Chelsea six months ago by saying he was “unhappy with the situation” at the club he left the Italian giants for, while keeping the door open for a return.
Inter fans were furious with the striker’s departure at the time and his comments only increased the tension between ultra Curva Nord supporters and the centre-forward.
Inter Milan’s Ultra fans have told Chelsea’s Lukaku they don’t want him back under the banner in December
“I think everything that happened last summer was not supposed to happen like this… how I left Inter, the way I left the club, how I communicated with the Inter fans – it bothers me because it was not the right time,” he said. said in an interview with Sky Sport Italy.
“Now is the right time to share my feelings. I have always said that I have Inter in my heart: I know that I will come back to Inter, I really hope so. I am in love with Italy is a good time to talk and let people know what really happened.
“I really hope from the bottom of my heart to come back to Inter not at the end of my career, but when I’m still at the top level to win more together.
A mural of Lukaku has been defaced by Inter fans who were upset with his departure last summer
“I want to apologize to the Inter fans, the timing of my words was not the right one: what you did for me will stay forever.”
The apology and recent comments from Lukaku, who also apologized to Chelsea, were not appreciated by Inter supporters, who reacted by placing a banner on the gates near the San Siro, saying that he ‘fleed away’ to the Premier League.
The sign read: ‘It doesn’t matter who runs away in the rain, it matters who stays in the storm. Goodbye Romulu’.
Inter fans have defaced the murals of their former player after his summer switch after being furious at his departure.
Inter posted a welcome message to Lukaku on Twitter after the deal was confirmed
In a statement confirming the deal, Chelsea said: “The Belgian returns to the Italian side where he already spent two years and won the Serie A title.”
“Lukaku returned to Stamford Bridge last summer, 10 years after initially joining the club as a teenager, and resumed his life in the Premier League scoring in a win at Arsenal, before scoring twice in his first home game as we beat Aston Villa 3-0, scoring his first goals at Stamford Bridge.
“He found his way back to the net against Zenit Saint Petersburg, but it would be the last time until the second leg with the same opponents three months later when he struggled to shake off the effects of a ankle injury suffered in another European match against Malmö in October, which limited his appearances at the start of the winter.
“Lukaku scored in back-to-back Premier League games against Aston Villa and Brighton between Christmas and New Year, before helping us lift the FIFA Club World Cup trophy for the first time in early February. scored the only goal as we beat Al Hilal 1-0 in the semi-final before opening the scoring in the 2-1 final win over Palmeiras.
“The striker scored more FA Cup goals before helping us clinch a third Premier League finish in May, netting a brace in a 2-2 draw with Wolves and completing the scoring as we beat Leeds 3-0.
“Combined with his first spell at Chelsea between 2011 and 2014, Lukaku made a total of 59 appearances for the club, scoring 15 goals.”