Romelu Lukaku can quit dreaming about Real Madrid

Real Madrid transfer target Romelu Lukaku (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
Real Madrid transfer target Romelu Lukaku (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images) /

This past summer, Chelsea, the winners of the Champions League, effectively took themselves out of the race to sign Erling Haaland by signing Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku. The move was cheered by Real Madrid fans, who saw the Blues, having knocked Real out of the semifinals of the competition, as serious competitors for Haaland. And now, it seems to be only Manchester City threatening Los Blancos for the Dortmund star. Even then, Real appear to be favorites.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are not getting the return they want out of the Belgian. Lukaku was Serie A’s best player in 2020-2021, beating out Cristiano Ronaldo to both this individual honor and the Scudetto. The Belgian’s clinical finishing, smart passing, coach-like movement, and hold-up play helped the Nerazzurri end Juve’s run of title triumphs.

Lukaku recently gave a controversial interview with Sky Sport Italia, which included a lot of quotes that did not go over well with Chelsea fans. They painted the picture of a great player frustrated with his current situation and perhaps regretful that Inter’s economic turmoil pushed him out.

But there was another quote of interest – this one to Madridistas. Lukaku named the three clubs he sees as the biggest in the world and said that he wanted to join one of them after balling out for Inter.

Real Madrid are after Erling Haaland at striker and nobody else

Those three clubs? Barcelona. Bayern Munich. And the team his current club knocked out en route to their most recent Champions League trophy. Real Madrid.

Lukaku, a current Chelsea player, did not say that his own club was one of the absolute best clubs in the world despite their UCL title and heavy financial power – not to mention all of their league titles in the 2010’s.

While he isn’t wrong in saying these are the three most prestigious clubs on the planet due to their histories and footballing cultures, it was a jarring statement.

For Madridistas, normally it would be flattering for such a great player to acknowledge Los Blancos’s status. But in this case, it is “thanks but no thanks”.

Lukaku is in the same boat as another great striker who has torn through Serie A. Both he and Dusan Vlahovic have Madrid as a dream destination, but Los Merengues have a different striker in mind who dreams of Madrid. And he is even better with more upside. Haaland, who costs just 75 million euros due to his release clause.

Karim Benzema is better than Lukaku anyway

Even if Real Madrid strike out on Haaland to, say City, Lukaku does not even enter the equation. He is a great all-around striker, but he does not have the same consistency, pedigree, fit, or team-friendly wages as Karim Benzema. He is “Karim the Dream”, as Julien Laurens likes to say, for a reason. Benz is the perfect team player and a living legend at striker. And he is still going strong.

If Haaland joins Madrid, he could make way for him after 2022-2023 and return to Lyon. But if not, Benzema could conceivably play up top for a couple of more years before the next big thing replaces him. A different player from Dortmund in Karim Adeyemi, perhaps?

As for Bayern, they have Robert Lewandowski and their own eyes on Haaland – just in case. And if they were to lose Lewa and get Haaland, Lewa’s dream also happens to be Madrid. Funny how that works, right?

Barcelona has no money. They have fallen from grace to the point where Alvaro Morata – not Haaland, as they are pretending – is their main target at striker.

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On some level, you have to feel for Lukaku for never playing for one of these clubs. But he’s also gotten to play for Inter and Chelsea in recent years. He did not realize what he had with Inter, and now that he’s back in the Premier League, he’s starting to see that things with Thomas Tuchel weren’t as rosy as promised.

If he doesn’t want to stick it out, he’ll have to find a different club to dream about. Real Madrid is on the Haaland-or-bust train at striker. Seeing as how he settled on the Blues, as he implied in the interview, he already realized the Madrid dream would never be realized.