?Inter striker Romelu Lukaku has revealed the pessimism of Manchester United fans was a key factor in his decision to leave Old Trafford last summer.
I Nerazzurri bought the Belgian for a club-record £74m in August after he failed to win over the Red Devils fanbase. The 26-year-old scored 42 goals during his two-year stay in Manchester, but was constantly scapegoated by supporters for United’s struggles. Since joining Inter, he has netted 14 times in 22 appearances.
Speaking to the ?New York Times about his ?transfer to ?Serie A, Lukaku explained: “I took [Paul Pogba] aside and told him I was done with ?Manchester United. There was a feeling that Pogba and I were guilty of the fall of Manchester United.
“From the beginning, it was a ‘Yes, but…’. I scored in the European Super Cup, and they said, ‘Yes, but he got another one wrong’.
“When I first started out in the ?Premier League, I scored against ?West Ham, and they said, ‘Yeah, but…’. Since then I imagined how it would feel to leave the club. One year at United erases the previous eight.”
The ?Inter hitman also revealed he spoke to ?Juventus superstar Cristiano Roanldo about playing in Italy before finalising his move to San Siro, saying: “[He] told me, ‘Serie A is the most defensive league in the world’.
“He told me he scored goals wherever he went, but Italy is the most difficult. And if Cristiano Ronaldo thinks so, it must be true.”
Lukaku then admitted he’d been wanting to leave Old Trafford since before the Easter. He said, via ?CalcioMercato?: “From March, I had made the decision to start from scratch, to rebuild my reputation.
“I said to myself: ‘The Premier [League] was good for me, but I had to leave’. Italian? It took me 2 or 3 weeks of hard work to learn it. Now, nobody speaks English to me anymore.”
Finally, the striker opened up on how his experiences of being racially abused helped make him a stronger person. He said: “I’ve been in situations like the Cagliari game so many times in my life.
“You build yourself a shield and I take my anger out on the shield. I always think, ‘Now I’m going to score, win and go home.’ Black Friday headline and the Three Monkeys campaign? I know I haven’t done enough. I say what I’m thinking, if something’s on my mind, I get up and I talk.”
For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter