Romelu Lukaku has completed a sensational return to Inter Milan after a nightmare second spell at Chelsea.
The Belgian striker endured a season to forget after re-joining the Blues for £98million last summer as he massively struggled for form on the pitch and also created friction off it with a bombshell interview.
Lukaku, who was greeted by fans at Milan’s airport when he touched down on Tuesday, has now swapped England for Italy – again – by returning to Serie A giants Inter, the side he left for Chelsea last year, on a one-year loan deal.
‘Romelu Lukaku will spend the 2022-23 campaign with Inter Milan after completing a season-long loan,’ Chelsea said in a statement.
Romelu Lukaku has completed a sensational return to Inter Milan on loan from Chelsea
Lukaku endured a torrid time at Stamford Bridge after his £98m move from Inter last summer
The Belgian forward is back at the Italian giants after agreeing a season-long loan deal
Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta all-but confirmed the deal on Tuesday when he said: ‘We have to thank the availability of the presidency and the owners. I hope it can be closed, not in a few hours, but a few days.’
‘We cannot make it official yet,’ he added. ‘He is a returning player who has done very well with us and we are happy to bring him home.’
The 29-year-old notched just eight Premier League goals in the 2021-22 campaign, failing to live up to the performances that encouraged Chelsea to splash the cash in the first place.
Lukaku’s first spell at Inter began in the summer of 2019 and he fired Antonio Conte’s side to the Scudetto in the 2020-21 season, scoring 24 goals in Serie A.
Yet he made it clear that he wanted to return to Chelsea – who he played for from 2011-2014 – and made his Blues comeback in 2021.
Fitness issues and his infamous Sky Italia interview, released in December and where he admitted he was ‘not happy’ at Chelsea, meant he fell out of favour with manager Thomas Tuchel.
Lukaku did start the FA Cup final against Liverpool but could not score a vital goal to guide the Blues to a trophy this season.
With the World Cup just months away the forward will be aware of the need to play regular football in order to cement his starting spot for Belgium in Qatar.
Lukaku fell out of favour with Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel due to poor form and an interview
Lukaku still has four years left on his contract at Stamford Bridge but stated a desire to return to the San Siro in the explosive interview over the festive period.
However the Italian giants find themselves with limited funds and are walking the tightrope of Financial Fair Play.
Lukaku stunned Chelsea six months ago by saying he’s ‘not happy with the situation’ at the club he left the Italian giants for, as well as keeping the door open to a return.
Inter fans were furious at the striker’s departure at the time and his comments only ramped up the tension between ultra supporters Curva Nord and the centre forward.
Inter Milan’s Ultra fans told Chelsea’s Lukaku they don’t want him back in banner in December
‘I think everything that happened last summer was not supposed to happen like this… how I left Inter, the way I left the club, how I communicated with Inter fans – this bothers me because it was not the right time,’ he said in an interview with Sky Sport Italia.
‘Now it’s the right time to share my feelings. I have always said that I have Inter in my heart: I know I will return to Inter, I really hope so. I am in love with Italy, this is right moment to talk and let people know what really happened.
‘I really hope from bottom of my heart to return to Inter not at the end of my career, but when I’m still at top level to win more together.
A mural of Lukaku was defaced by Inter fans who were upset at him leaving last summer
‘I want apologise to the Inter fans, the timing of my words was wrong: what you did for me will remain forever.’
The apologies and the recent comments by Lukaku, who also said sorry to Chelsea, were not appreciated by the Inter fans, who reacted by placing a banner on the gates near the San Siro, saying he ‘ran away’ to the Premier League.
The sign read: ‘It doesn’t matter who runs away in the rain, it counts who stays in the storm. Bye Romelu’.
Inter fans defaced murals of their former player following his summer switch after being left furious at his departure.
Inter posted a welcome message to Lukaku on Twitter after the deal was confirmed
In a statement confirming the deal, Chelsea said: ‘The Belgian returns to the Italian side where he previously spent two years and won the Serie A title.
‘Lukaku came back to Stamford Bridge last summer, 10 years after initially joining the club as a teenager, and resumed life in the Premier League by scoring in a win at Arsenal, before netting twice in his first home game as we defeated Aston Villa 3-0, scoring his first goals at Stamford Bridge.
‘He found the net again against Zenit St Petersburg but that would be the last time until the return match with the same opponents three months later, as he struggled to shake off the effects of an ankle injury suffered in another European tie against Malmo in October, which restricted his appearances in early winter.
‘Lukaku scored in back-to-back Premier League games against Aston Villa and Brighton between Christmas and New Year, before helping us to lift the FIFA Club World Cup trophy for the first time at the beginning of February. He scored the only goal as we beat Al Hilal 1-0 in the semis before opening the scoring in the 2-1 final win over Palmeiras.
‘The striker contributed further goals in the FA Cup before helping us secure a third-place finish in the Premier League in May, with a brace in a 2-2 draw against Wolves and completing the scoring as we beat Leeds 3-0.
‘Combined with his first spell at Chelsea between 2011 and 2014, Lukaku has made a total of 59 appearances for the club, scoring 15 goals.’