Premier League • England

Romelu Lukaku unloads on Chelsea over ‘shocking’ exit: ‘There were moments when I really could explode’

Romelu Lukaku and Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea

Romelu Lukaku and Mauricio Pochettino with Chelsea badge

Romelu Lukaku has described the events leading up to his Chelsea exit this summer as ‘shocking’ and revealed that there were also moments before his eventual loan move to Roma that made him ‘explode’.

The striker spent last season on loan at Inter Milan and had been expected to make a permanent switch to the San Siro over the summer transfer window.

However, Inter were angered after learning that Lukaku had also been negotiating with Serie A rivals Juventus, whose own supporters then staged multiple protests against signing the much-maligned Belgium international.

Lukaku eventually returned to Chelsea over the summer but Mauricio Pochettino made it very clear that he would not be involved with the first-team squad, leading to his eventual move to the Olympic Stadium.

And speaking at a press conference while away with Belgium on international duty, the 30-year-old explained all his frustrations.

Lukaku said: “Most of the people in the room know me. You know that I don’t like to beat around the bush. I will speak in time but if I really said how it all went last summer everyone would be shocked.

“There were moments when I really could explode, five years ago I probably would have done that too.

“Now I have concentrated on what I can do best – playing football.”

READ MOREWhy Arsenal won’t be deterred by Ivan Toney bidding war against London rivals

Roma a strong option for Lukaku

Lukaku admits that speaking to Radja Nainggolan and Jose Mourinho about Roma made his decision very easy to move there.

He added: “As soon as the negotiations [with Roma] started, I became well informed about the club, the supporters. I must also thank Radja [Nainggolan] who gave me a lot of information. I spent a lot of time talking to Jose Mourinho. The rest is work.

“I worked very hard alone this summer to the point of surprising the Roma staff. I was in a positive mindset, I hadn’t played at my true level for two years and I had to do my best to be back. I was lucky to be able to count on great teammates and staff who helped me.

“It was said that I was going to sign there or there but that was false. I preferred to remain silent.

“90 per cent of what was said in the media was false and it was hard to keep my mouth shut. I take an example from LeBron James. Every year we hit him. I’m not LeBron but he had the character to always respond and show that he’s there.

“During the summer I saw what people said about me and I trained to be there the day I had to perform. One day I will tell the truth. The others will also have to assume it at that time.”

Lukaku was also asked about interest from Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Hilal over the summer, adding: “I was honoured by that interest but after the conversations I was not completely convinced.

“They are the biggest club in the Middle East and the league there will become one of the biggest in the world, but I didn’t want to leave Europe yet.”

Chelsea are back in action on October 21 when they host London rivals in the Premier League.

DON’T MISSTriple Chelsea exit gathers pace as report claims ruthless Pochettino will shove unwanted trio into January exits