It was a special day for Romelu Lukaku, who waited more than 10 years to score a goal at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea.
Then he scored two.
“It was my childhood dream,” Lukaku said. “I worked hard for this moment. I’m very happy with the win. It was an important win for us. It was about focus and motivation and we showed the will to win from the first minute.”
Joining the Blues as a teenager on Aug. 8, 2011, the Belgian superstar went on to score 318 senior goals for Anderlecht, West Brom, Everton, Manchester United, and Inter Milan before returning to Stamford Bridge.
He scored for Chelsea away from the Bridge but Saturday’s brace came 3,687 days after he arrived in London with the hopes of scoring bags of goals at home.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) September 11, 2021
What’s changed for Lukaku? Plenty, but the Belgian mentioned that hours and hours of training in front of goal were followed by refinement under Antonio Conte in the reputed chance-starved Serie A (even if it’s on the level of La Liga in goals per game, but we digress).
“Efficiency,” Lukaku said. “When playing in Italy I was playing in a league where I had maybe one, two chances a game and I had to take them.”
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was asked if Lukaku could hold off all comers including another star who returned to his first Premier League club.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice for Manchester United, also Lukaku’s former club, but the Chelsea manager isn’t worried about that as the Blues stayed with the league-leading Red Devils in moving onto 10 points.
“I couldn’t care less as long as Lukaku scores for us,” Tuchel said, via Football.London. “Honestly, I know you’d like to have a good answer but unfortunately, I don’t have one. Lukaku was decisive for us today and that is what we are looking for. He wants to score for Chelsea, help the team with his goals, that is what he did today. That is why he is here. He is not shy to speak this ambition out loud because he is full of confidence and is the kind of personality that can handle it. This is what he showed in the first games and today.”