Football: 5 things about striker Romelu Lukaku who is transferring to Manchester United

Everton's Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Hull City at Goodison Park in Liverpool in March 2017.
Everton's Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Hull City at Goodison Park in Liverpool in March 2017.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Manchester United have agreed on a fee with Everton for the transfer of Belgian international striker Romelu Lukaku on Saturday (July 8).

Here are five things you might not know about the 24-year-old footballer, who is heading for Manchester United for a reported £75 million (S$133 million).

1. Lukaku not lost in translation

Lukaku is fluent in six languages including Portuguese and Spanish.

"I think education is very important. It was important for me to have my diplomas at school so I could also go to England," he said in 2012.

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"Education is very important in Belgium and if you didn't do well at school in the week, you couldn't play football at the weekend. You can have an injury and then you won't play at the highest level any more. If you don't have a diploma, what then?"

2. Drogba his idol but with qualifications

His idols are Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba, who did make it big at Chelsea unlike Lukaku, and his father Roger, who was capped by the then Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo).

 

However, Lukaku made it crystal clear in 2012 when Chelsea had sent him on loan to Premier League rivals West Brom that idols did not mean he wished to be compared to them.

"Am I fed up being compared with Drogba? Yes," he said.

"In the beginning it was nice to hear that, but every player wants to make his own name. I want to make my own name. Drogba was my big idol and so was my father, who also played in Belgium. I want to be myself. I want the people to say 'This is Romelu Lukaku, not the new Drogba.'"

3. Dad the guiding light

Any in-depth interview with Lukaku reveals that his father Roger has had the most profound influence on his life whether it be in education or his football career.

It was tough love but it has paid off big time.

"Very strict," Lukaku told www.goal.com in 2011 regarding his upbringing.

"My father told me, 'You must always have a goal and do everything to reach it.'

"Ever since I was six or seven, I wanted to be a professional footballer."

4. The Crying Game

As a teenager, Lukaku and his schoolmates at St Guidon Institute in Brussels were subject of a documentary, De School van Lukaku (Lukaku's School).

Part of it filmed them on a trip to London and a visit to Chelsea's Stamford Bridge which left Lukaku overwhelmed.

"Give me a ball and I will play here for five hours, What a stadium. If one day in my life I will cry, it will be the day I play here. I love Chelsea," he says.

The teacher accompanying the group urged a certain restraint from his pupil.

"You can dream on later," he says. An undeterred Lukaku insists he is not fantasising.

"This is not dreaming. I will do it. One day I will play here."

5. Spoils Fergie's United farewell

Sir Alex Ferguson will be happy for United that they have secured such a talent and the legendary Scottish manager has good reason to recall the last time they crossed paths.

It was his last match in charge of United away at West Brom and at 3-1 up at half-time, United looked set to give him a perfect send-off.

However, Lukaku being sent on as a second-half substitute changed it all.

He scored almost immediately but United then went 5-2 up.

Nevertheless, three goals inside the last 10 minutes forced a remarkable 5-5 draw with Lukaku emerging with a hat-trick.