Romelu Lukaku says he wasn’t ‘protected’ at Manchester United
Belgian striker has taken a swipe at the club saying he felt he had to make move to Inter
Romelu Lukaku during a training session with Inter Milan. Photo: Claudio Villa - Inter/Inter via Getty Images
Romelu Lukaku has claimed Manchester United failed to “protect” him amid stories regarding a transfer this summer and that he concluded he was not wanted and should leave.
The striker, who has joined Internazionale for a fee that could reach €76m, also said he was made a scapegoat during United’s difficult periods, along with Paul Pogba and Alexis Sánchez.
Lukaku, speaking on the NBA player Josh Hart’s Lighthearted podcast in an interview recorded before he left United but released on Wednesday, appears to believe that leaks about his future had come from within the club.
“A lot of stuff has been said where I didn’t feel protected,” he said. “I felt like a lot of rumours, ‘Rom going there’, ‘They don’t want Rom’, and nobody came out to shut it down.
“It was for a good three, four weeks. I’m waiting for someone to come out and shut it down. It didn’t happen.
“I had my conversation, told them it was better to go our separate ways. If you don’t want to protect somebody, all these rumours come out. I just wanted you to say, ‘Rom is going to fight for his place’, but it never happened for four, five months.”
“If you’re happy, you find a way; it doesn’t matter if you’re on the bench or starting. But nobody told me that was the situation, so I thought for two, three weeks to analyse, see all this shit coming out in the media. Who leaks it? Not me. Not my agent. I see it on my phone come out of nowhere.
“I told them it’s not good for me to be at a place where I’m not wanted. We’re not stupid. They consider us dumb, but we are not dumb; we know who is doing leaks and stuff. I told them, you can’t be working like this, it’s better for me to go now.”
Lukaku scored 42 goals in 96 games for United but believes he was regularly singled out for criticism when results were poor.
“They have to find somebody [to blame],” he said. “It is Pogba, it is me or it is Alexis. It’s the three of us all the time. For me, I just see it in many ways.”
He feels his performances for Belgium show the problems do not lie with him. “When I go and play for my country, we play the style of play that we want to play probably with Man United and I do well over there.
“So is it me? Four goals in the World Cup, three weeks ago I scored three goals in two games, and before that we played Switzerland and Iceland in September and I scored four goals in two games. I’ve scored 48 goals for my country.”
Lukaku joined United from Everton for £75m in 2017, and he cited United’s desire to sign him as the reason he picked Old Trafford over Stamford Bridge.
“At Man U everybody was ... I felt the trust more, where everybody wanted me to be there and that’s the true story. They came and they told me – I was in New York – I get a phone call from this number and I’m like, ‘Who’s this?’ Pick up, José Mourinho. ‘Rom, how are you doing?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, what’s up, boss?’
“Then the next thing I know, I wake up and had to go back to Everton on June 7th and June 6th, I wake up in the morning and I see they’ve agreed the deal, so I’m like, ‘Man! They came in hard!’” – Guardian