Despite some of the more glaring shortcomings in his game, i.e. anything technical, Romelu Lukaku is very, very good at one thing: putting the ball in the back of the net.
The former Everton man made the impossible dream a reality on Wednesday night for his current club Manchester United.
Heading into the fixture, no side had ever managed to make up a two-goal deficit when losing at home in the first leg, never mind against a team as accomplished as Paris Saint Germain.
But thanks to two very well taken goals, and Marcus Rashford’s ice cold penalty, the Belgian and his teammates sent blubbering and whining ‘superstar’ Neymar and his band of cronies back home crying. Victory for the footballing world.
The global profile of Manchester United Football Club will undoubtedly mean Lukaku is remembered for his antics at Old Trafford; however, for the more astute fans, we will never forget how integral his time was in Merseyside in helping him hone in on his talents.
Ironically it was Mourinho who sent him off to Everton in 2013 – the man who would later buy the player for an astronomical fee when he was in charge United.
The big Belgian would bang in 87 goals in 166 appearances for the club and help them to some of their more respectable finishes in recent years. His performance in the 4-0 beating of Manchester City in January 2017 will live long in the memory and the former Anderlecht prodigy lead the line for what was a hugely exciting team, though one who never really reached its full potential.
In Lukaku, Ross Barkley and John Stones, the Toffees had the core of a side who should have been built around using Farhad Moshiri’s, though the vultures soon circled.
Still, it was the ideal location for Lukaku. The fans adored him, the football complimented his style; he was the main man by all accounts. They handed him a chance and broke the bank in doing so. While the manner of his departure may still annoy sections of support, the two were very good for each other.
Indeed, it says it all that we are still discussing “who can replace Lukaku” two years on.
Granted, having a first-touch radius of a full-sized pitch is not the hallmark of a typical Manchester United player, but Lukaku has made it work and continued his remarkable form into a successful career at Old Trafford.
Given the agonising baron spells Lukaku has experienced, going seven games without a goal at one point, his respectable record of netting 42 times in 88 appearances is rather impressive.
Yes, he may not be the total football player Manchester United fans have enjoyed watching over the years. But he does a very good job. He evidently has a very good rapport with new partner Marcus Rashford, as evidenced by this week’s heroics, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has, like with almost all of his players, worked out a way to squeeze out the best of him.
Everton fans, are you disappointed in the way in which Romelu Lukaku left the club? Should the exciting young team have been kept together just a bit longer? Join the discussion by commenting below…
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