Romelu Lukaku has written an open letter to Inter Milan fans, thanking them for their support during his two years at the club but insisting he could not turn down the “chance of a lifetime” to rejoin Chelsea.
Lukaku returned to Chelsea this week in a club-record £97.5m transfer, 10 years after he first signed for the club as a teenager from Anderlecht.
The striker struggled to make an impression during his first spell – failing to score in 15 appearances – and moved to Everton in 2014 before joining Inter, via Manchester United.
Lukaku enjoyed two outstanding years at Inter and scored 24 goals in Serie A last season to help them to their first Italian title in 11 years, after which he insisted he would remain at San Siro for the 2021/22 campaign.
However, Lukaku changed his mind and asked Inter to arrange to sell him to Chelsea after it became clear the club wanted to make his return a reality.
Inter originally insisted the 28-year-old was not for sale but ultimately agreed to his departure amid pressure to raise funds this summer.
Addressing the club’s supporters for the first time since leaving, Lukaku wrote on Twitter: “Dear Inter fans. Thank you… Thank you for making me and my family feel at home in Milano.
“Thank you for the unconditional support and love on a daily basis. Thank you for motivating me even more after the first season.
“When I came to Inter I immediately felt that I would do well for this club. The love and reception I first received at Malpensa airport was the start of a beautiful story.
“I made it my mission to never let you down every time I wore the Inter shirt. I gave 100 per cent in every training session and every game so that I could make you proud.
“Our first season ended in the toughest possible way but you guys gave me the strength to continue to keep pushing and we did as a team. That’s why we became champions together.
“I hope you guys understand my decision to move on to Chelsea. It’s the chance of lifetime for me and I think at this time of my career it is a chance that I always dreamed of.
“One thing is for sure and that is that I will always remain an ‘interista’ because without you I wouldn’t be the player or man I am today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Lukaku – who grew up a Chelsea supporter – is understood to feel he has a point to prove at Stamford Bridge following his underwhelming first spell.
Chelsea also held an interest in Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland and Tottenham’s Harry Kane this summer, but opted for Lukaku to try to solve the issues that saw seven other sides score more Premier League goals than them last season.
Lukaku can fire Chelsea into Premier League title race
Chelsea are Champions League holders. Boss Thomas Tuchel has had a transformative impact on their style and defensive solidity since joining in January. They showed a steely mentality under the German to edge tight matches in both that run to European glory and to grab a top-four finish in last season’s Premier League.
With real strength in depth to call upon, all the signs are pointing towards a genuine title challenge in 2021/22.
The signing of Romelu Lukaku will surely make that a reality.
Lukaku – 10 years after he first joined Chelsea from Anderlecht – is every inch the world-class finisher they need to get their hands back on the Premier League trophy.
Since failing to impress at Stamford Bridge first time around, the Belgian has been nothing but prolific. He scored 87 goals in 166 games for Everton, and after a last-minute move to Manchester United when a Chelsea return seemed on the cards in 2017, he scored 42 times in 96 appearances for the Old Trafford