Roma boss Jose Mourinho has insisted that Romelu Lukaku will play against Inter Milan despite the controversy over his summer exit from San Siro.
- Mourinho addresses Lukaku Inter drama
- Roma face Inter on Sunday
- Striker will play at San Siro
WHAT HAPPENED? On Sunday, Roma will take in a trip to Serie A leaders Inter, which will see Lukaku return to San Siro for the first time since his acrimonious summer exit from the club. The Belgian striker angered Inter fans when he snubbed a permanent move to the Nerazzurri and reportedly entered into negotiations with their arch-rivals Juventus. Lukaku ended up linking up with Mourinho at Roma as Chelsea allowed him to depart on loan for the second successive season, and he will likely face a hostile reception in Milan having been criticised in public by Inter’s ultras.
WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Mourinho said: “Lukaku will play. It’s a very difficult, important match, he is important for us, especially without [Paulo] Dybala and [Lorenzo] Pellegrini. Lukaku must play. I didn’t know he was so important in Milan, because what he did, winning the Scudetto, two cups, 200 players in Inter have won a super cup.
“Afterwards it is interesting to understand why if Lukaku goes from Inter to Roma to help his coach it is a drama, while in the past [Fabio] Cannavaro went from Inter to Juve without problems. [Christian] Vieri no problem, Romelu at Roma is a surprise because I didn’t think he would be in the hearts of the Inter fans.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: After a stop-start loan spell at Inter last season, Lukaku has rediscovered his scoring touch in the Italian capital. The 30-year-old has scored seven goals in nine matches in all competitions so far this term for Roma, who are sitting in seventh in the Serie A table.
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WHAT NEXT? While Mourinho says Lukaku will be involved at the San Siro, the coach himself won’t be. He was shown a red card late on in his side’s 1-0 win against Monza on Sunday for making a crying gesture towards the opposition bench. Mourinho will, however, be on the bench when Roma face Slavia Prague in the Europa League on Thursday night, as his suspension does not carry over into European competition.