EPL

Lukaku felt 'in his heart' he was still an Inter player, says Di Biagio

By Sports Desk June 18, 2022

Romelu Lukaku has always felt he was still an Inter player despite his exit last year to join Chelsea, Gigi Di Biagio believes.

The Belgium international left the Serie A side to return to the Premier League to join Thomas Tuchel's side but has endured difficulties in west London, expressing his frustrations during a mid-season interview.

Lukaku is expected to be on the move once ahead of the 2022-23 season, with Inter pushing to re-sign the striker from Chelsea – with reports indicating discussions regarding a loan deal are underway.

According to Di Biagio, Lukaku never quite left the San Siro spiritually and it was clear he regretted his exit as he remained an Inter player "in his heart".

"It's really quite romantic that we all got the feeling from the first day that Lukaku wanted to return to Inter straight away," the former midfielder told Sky Sport Italia.

"You could tell from the way he spoke, the look on his face, he still felt in his heart that he was still an Inter player. Then there was that interview he gave too."

Lukaku scored 15 goals in 44 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions, half of the tally he netted in the 2020-21 season to help propel Inter to the Serie A title.

During the 29-year-old's previous two-year spell with Inter, no Nerazzurri player scored more goals (64), provided more assists (17) or created as many chances (133) in all competitions.

Di Biagio believes Lukaku can achieve similar success if the striker returns to Inter.

"Lukaku can still make the difference in Serie A, for his motivation, his desire to wear the jersey, he wants to give something more," he added.

"He felt like he was the king at Inter, whereas something at Chelsea just wasn't working."

Inter are expected to significantly rejuvenate their attacking ranks as they seek to knock San Siro rivals Milan off top-spot next season, with Paulo Dybala also reportedly arriving on a free transfer from Juventus.

Related items

  • Dodgers All-Star Chris Taylor sidelined indefinitely with foot fracture Dodgers All-Star Chris Taylor sidelined indefinitely with foot fracture

    Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor has revealed he will be sidelined indefinitely due to a left foot fracture.

    The 2021 All-Star underwent scans which revealed the fracture after he exited Monday's 5-3 win over the Colorado Rapids in the sixth inning with left ankle swelling.

    The 31-year-old 2020 World Series champion said it was a "small fracture" but didn’t know the timeframe for recovery and return to play.

    "We really haven't even gotten to that point where we discussed a timeframe yet," Taylor told Spectrum SportsNet LA.

    "Right now we're taking it step by step and I don't think we've put an exact date on when a possible return will be."

    Taylor, who signed a four-year contract worth $60 million in December, is hitting at .237 with six home runs and 27 RBIs this season.

  • Benedetto misses two penalties as Corinthians, Atletico Mineiro advance in Copa Libertadores Benedetto misses two penalties as Corinthians, Atletico Mineiro advance in Copa Libertadores

    Corinthians progressed to the quarter-finals of the Copa Libertadores on Tuesday without the injured Willian, going through 6-5 on penalties after two goalless legs.

    After Boca scraped a draw in the first leg in Sao Paulo, they were given a chance to take the early lead from the spot, after a VAR intervention penalised Raul Gustavo's errant elbow.

    Despite sending Cassio the wrong way, Dario Benedetto smacked his effort against the frame of the goal, critically maintaining parity in the tie.

    The 32-year-old had the best chance of the second half for Boca as well, but his chip in transition floated just over when put through by Sebastian Villa.

    In the shoot-out, back-to-back penalty saves from Agustin Rossi were not able to save Benedetto, who skied his second penalty before Gil eventually put the Timao through.

    Hulk sends CAM through

    Atletico Mineiro left it late but secured their progression to the quarter-finals, defeating Emelec 1-0 in Belo Horizonte to go through 2-1 on aggregate.

    Antonio Mohamed's side struggled for significant portions of the first leg but dominated possession and territory in the return, with 21 shots to six on the night 

    Hulk's 79th-minute penalty ultimately proved the difference, calmly slotting past Pedro Ortiz.

    Romulo salvages draw and progression for Athletico-PR

    Athletico Paranaense snatched a late 1-1 draw in Asuncion, advancing to the quarter-finals by winning 3-2 on aggregate.

    The Paraguayan champions forced themselves level on aggregate through veteran Roque Santa Cruz in the fourth minute of first-half injury time, scoring via a wonderful solo dribble and finish.  

    When the tie looked set for penalties, Romulo dramatically secured passage for Luiz Felipe Scolari's side, picking up the rebound from his own header to score in the 90th minute.

  • Women's Euros: Spain's Putellas suffers ACL injury Women's Euros: Spain's Putellas suffers ACL injury

    Spain's Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas will not feature in the Women's Euros after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

    Barcelona captain Putellas finished as the Champions League's top goalscorer with 11 goals last season, ending her domestic campaign with 18 league strikes.

    Putellas, who has scored 27 goals in 100 international appearances and also picked up FIFA's The Best Women's Player award in 2021, was expected to provide creativity from out wide for La Roja, but faces a lengthy spell out of action after suffering the injury in training ahead of Spain's opening game against Finland on Friday.

    An update issued on the side's official website read: "The tests carried out on the Spanish international on the afternoon of this Tuesday, July 5, 2022, at King Edward VII's hospital in London, have confirmed that the captain of the Spanish women's national team suffered a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee."

    Putellas' injury is a huge blow for Spain and the tournament as a whole, with the 28-year-old one of the biggest stars of the women's game.

    Spain, whose group also includes Germany and Denmark, were already without their record goalscorer Jennifer Hermoso due to injury.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.