Inter striker Romelu Lukaku is “at the level of Erling Haaland, Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema”, says Belgium legend Enzo Scifo, with a prolific 27-year-old considered to have silenced his critics in style.
Questions were being asked of the frontman when he headed through the exits at Manchester United in 2019 and took on a new challenge at San Siro with Serie A heavyweights.
A 34-goal debut campaign proved a serious point to any doubters, while a further 27 efforts this season for Antonio Conte’s title hopefuls have helped Lukaku to cement a standing alongside elite performers from Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
What has been said?
Former Belgium star Scifo, who also spent time with Inter in his playing days, has told Gazzetta dello Sport: “To think that at the time (2019) he was heavily criticised here. He was accused of lacking technique and being wasteful in front of goal, but I always knew he was a star due to his power and how he uses his left foot.
“He had to come to Italy to improve himself and luckily for him it happened, in a strong team and with a demanding coach.
“Find me another player as decisive as him. I knew he would score 30 goals a season.
“Conte was the right man at the right time for his maturity. He saw him, wanted him and immediately said, ‘he is my man.’ He could not have found a better coach and vice versa.
“For me he is at the level of Haaland, Lewandowski and Benzema. If Belgium win anything, they owe it to him.
“His strength is always knowing how to react to difficult moments, always looking for the next goal. Now he is in top form.”
Hitting new heights
Lukaku enjoyed considerable success in English football, with early struggles at Chelsea put behind him as he thrived with West Brom and Everton.
A big-money move to Old Trafford did not play out as planned, but he still hit 42 goals through 96 appearances.
Walking away from criticism of his value to the collective cause in Manchester has allowed the Belgium international to hit new heights, with the fearsome No.9 now considered to be one of the world’s top talents.
He has told Matteo Pincella of raising his game in Italy: “I’ve always been an explosive player with muscles but Italy
took me to another level.
“I have never felt so strong. I have reached another level, physically and mentally.”
Lukaku has helped to fire Inter to within touching distance of the Serie A crown, with Conte’s side 11 points clear at the summit with just five games left to take in.