Romelu Lukaku reveals how being ‘broke’ as child drove him to ‘be the best’

first_img 4 4 Anderlecht gave Lukaku his big break at 16, where he scored 41 goals in 98 games before making the switch to Chelsea in 2011 Writing for the Players’ Tribune, Lukaku said of his upbringing: “I remember the exact moment I knew we were broke. I can still picture my mum at the refrigerator and the look on her face.“I was six years old, and I came home for lunch during our break at school. My mum had the same thing on the menu every single day: Bread and milk. When you’re a kid, you don’t even think about it. But I guess that’s what we could afford.“I didn’t say a word. I didn’t want her to stress. I just ate my lunch. But I swear to God, I made a promise to myself that day.“It was like somebody snapped their fingers and woke me up. I knew exactly what I had to do, and what I was going to do.” 4 Lukaku’s idol Thierry Henry is now his mentor, having taken up the role of Belgium assistant coach Romelu Lukaku has revealed how being ‘broke’ at six years old and sleeping on the floor next to rats in his apartment drove him to be the best, despite facing doubters at every stage of his career.The Belgian, set to lead the line at a second World Cup, spoke of being an outcast in his own country and the anger that fuelled his rise to turning professional at 16. The Manchester United striker, who could not afford a TV to learn the game he has made his life, said: “I wanted to be the best footballer in Belgian history. That was my goal. Not good. Not great. The best.“I played with so much anger, because of a lot of things … because the rats running around in our apartment … because I couldn’t watch the Champions League … because of how the other parents used to look at me.“I don’t know why some people in my own country want to see me fail. I really don’t. When I went to Chelsea and I wasn’t playing, I heard them laughing at me. When I got loaned out to West Brom, I heard them laughing at me.“But it’s cool. Those people weren’t with me when we were pouring water in our cereal. If you weren’t with me when I had nothing, then you can’t really understand me.” Lukaku’s Belgium face Panama, Tunisia and England in Group G at the World Cup Lukaku, 25, is in line to start for Belgium in their opening World Cup game against Panama as they hope to beat England to top spot in Group G, but despite the pride of winning a 70th cap for his country, he has one regret.“I just really, really wish my grandad was around to witness this,” he said, having been asked to look after his mother by his Congolese grandfather shortly before he died.” Lukaku is Belgium’s record goalscorer, scoring 36 times in his 69 caps 4 Lukaku was still 12 at the time, and his prodigious talent was being questioned by opposition players’ parents, forcing him to show them his ID to prove his age.He continued: “I’m not talking about the Premier League. Not Manchester United. Not the Champions League. Not the World Cups. That’s not what I mean. I just wish he was around to see the life we have now. I wish I could have one more phone call with him, and I could let him know …“‘See? I told you. Your daughter is OK. No more rats in the apartment. No more sleeping on the floor. No more stress.“We’re good now. We’re good. They don’t have to check the ID any more. They know our name.’”last_img read more