Enraged Inter Milan fans have defaced ANOTHER mural of their former hero Romelu Lukaku as the big-money Chelsea signing issues a heartfelt message to fans of his former club to thank them for “loving me as one of your own”.
The superstar Belgian striker was drafted into Stamford Bridge for a club record fee of £97.5 million ($135 million) last week as Thomas Tuchel attempts to find a remedy to Chelsea’s goalscoring woes.
Italian midfielder Jorginho finished last season as the Blues’ top Premier League goalscorer with seven – each of which came from the penalty spot – and ahead of a presumed challenge to Manchester City’s dominance of the English top flight, a proven goalscorer was top of Tuchel’s shopping list.
And in Lukaku, Chelsea appear to have got what they were looking for. The 28-year-old forward was crucial to Antonio Conte’s successful bid to seize power from Juventus in Serie A as Inter Milan won their first league title since 2010, ending Juve’s nine-year run as Italian football’s pace-setters in the process.
But despite being crucial to the most successful Inter Milan team in a decade, Lukaku’s move to London has been met with fury by some sections of the Inter support – many of whom appear to feel that their iconic former forward has abandoned them in pursuit of glory at the club he supported as a boy.
Furious fans had already destroyed a Lukaku mural outside the club’s San Siro stadium – and the same has happened once more, as another image bearing Lukaku’s image (in which he was clashing with Zlatan Ibrahimovic) has also fallen foul of vengeful graffiti artists.
Romelu #Lukaku a publié un long message d’adieu aux tifosi de l’#Inter aujourd’hui pour expliquer son choix de partir à Chelsea. Mais le tag de son altercation avec Ibra (juste a côté de San Siro) a été vandalisé à Milan : “Traître vendu”. pic.twitter.com/ICEweTprca
— GuillaumeMP (@Guillaumemp) August 15, 2021
The defaced image shows scrawls across Lukaku’s face, while the words “sell-out traitor” are written in Italian underneath.
The latest act of aggression from Inter’s fans towards their former hero came just hours before Lukaku issued a heartfelt statement to the supporters he spent two years playing in front of, in which he thanked them for their “unconditional support”.
“Thank you,” he wrote. “Thank you for loving me as one of your own. Thank you for making me and my family feel welcome in Milano. Thank you for the unconditional support and love on a daily basis.
“Thanks for motivating me even more after the first season. When I came to Inter I immediately felt that I would do well at this club. The love and reception I first received at Malpensa airport was the start of a beautiful story.
“I made it my mission to never let you down every time I wore the Inter shirt. I gave 100% in every training session and every game so that I could make you proud.
“Our first season ended in the toughest possible way, but you guys gave me the strength to continue to keep pushing and we did as a team. That’s why we became champions together.
“I hope you guys understand my decision to move to Chelsea. It’s the chance of a lifetime for me and I think at this time of my career it is a chance that I have always dreamed of.
“One thing is for sure and that is that I will always remain a Interista, because without you I wouldn’t be the player or man I am today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”