Romelu Lukaku believes he is “the strongest dude” because of his difficult upbringing.
Lukaku has emerged as one of Europe’s finest strikers, but endured a tough path to the top.
The Belgian has opened up about his childhood in a fascinating and brilliant piece for The Players’ Tribune, and we have an extract below.
‘People in football love to talk about mental strength. Well, I’m the strongest dude you’re ever going to meet. Because I remember sitting in the dark with my brother and my mom, saying our prayers, and thinking, believing, knowing … it’s going to happen.
‘I kept my promise to myself for a while. But then some days I’d come home from school and find my mum crying. So I finally told her one day, “Mum, it’s gonna change. You’ll see. I’m going to play football for Anderlecht, and it’s going to happen soon. We’ll be good. You won’t have to worry anymore.”
‘I was six. I asked my father, “When can you start playing professional football?” He said, “Sixteen.” I said, “O.K., sixteen then.”
‘It was going to happen. Period.
‘Let me tell you something — every game I ever played was a Final. When I played in the park, it was a Final. When I played during break in kindergarten, it was a Final. I’m dead-ass serious. I used to try to tear the cover off the ball every time I shot it. Full power. We weren’t hitting R1, bro. No finesse shot. I didn’t have the new FIFA. I didn’t have a Playstation. I wasn’t playing around. I was trying to kill you.’