"So if they want to put the blame on me, you know what, fuck it, do what you got to do."
Romelu Lukaku has talked in detail about his last few months at Manchester United and revealed the extent of how much he was frozen out by the club in the latter half of last season and made a scapegoat for the poor performances under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.
On 8th August, Lukaku was sold to Inter Milan for £65million. In an interview recorded earlier in the summer, before he left United, but only released yesterday, the Belgian talked about how he realised he had no future at Old Trafford.
They gotta find somebody (to blame). And I put my hand up, you know, this year, I don't think I was the only one that was playing bad. A lot of people were playing bad. But they have to find the culprit.
So if they want to put the blame on me, you know what, fuck it, do what you got to do. I know what I've been through, this is just soccer. I'm here, I'm playing, but then at one point I will go. I'll go and I'll do something else.
For me, it was just shit, because I think the team has so much potential to do some great stuff. A lot of talent. A lot, a lot of talent, but you know, it's not only talent, you have to build a team and a lot of people don't think I can be part of that team so, for me, I'm just saying 'Ah, OK, so if it's like that, you know, then we can go our separate ways. Everybody's going to win. You guys can somebody that really fits the bill for you, and I can do my own thing somewhere else'.
In a fascinating 95 minute interview on the LightHarted podcast with Josh Hart, the former LA Laker and current New Orleans Pelican, Lukaku talks about his entire career and life, but the focus naturally came down to his frustrations with how his final days at Manchester United were being handled by the club.
A lot of stuff has been said where I didn't feel protected. A lot of rumours; 'Rom is going to there', 'they don't want Rom', and nobody came out and shut it down.
That was about for a good three, four weeks. I'm waiting until somebody until comes and says we should sit down. It didn't happen. It didn't happen! And I was like, 'oh OK, that's we're going to be? OK, cool, fine',
Then I had my conversation, and I told them, you know, it's better to go separate ways, because if you guys don't want to protect somebody, but you guys say you want to keep them. But if all the rumours comes out, but it doesn't come out of my mouth, because I clearly never entertain rumours.
I just wanted a little bit of protection, saying 'Rom is not going to leave, he just needs to fight for his place', or whatever, it never happened. It never happened!
Lukaku also claims it's unfair that the club and fans claim he's not suited to the style of play the team want to play under Solksjaer, citing his performances for Belgium as an example.
They have to find somebody. Either it's Pogba, or it's me, or Alexis. It's the three of us all the time. A lot of people don't think I should be part of their system. That's my feeling. Conversations that I have, I just know.
The thing that makes me laugh a lot is how the hell is shit going bad in my team, but when I play with my national team, it's good? Something is wrong. Is it me?
I mean I didn't play the last three weeks or something before the end of the season, and then I had another three weeks off before I had to come back for the national team. But we go and play with the Belgian team, and we were rolling. I was there. And nobody there complains.
"It's shitty that it happens like that because when I go and play for my country, we play the style of play we want to play with Man United. And I do well over there. So, is it me? "
Lukaku also goes on to talk about his suspicions that United were starting the rumours of his leaving in the press and how he reacted to that.
Whatever the reasons, the relationship between the club and the striker was clearly broken and it was best for everyone that the Inter move finally went through.
You can watch the full, fascinating podcast here: