Romelu Lukaku has reportedly been dropped from Chelsea’s squad to face Liverpool following an interview where he expressed unhappiness with the role he is playing at the Blues.
Belgium striker Lukaku returned to Stamford Bridge in a club-record £97.5million deal in the last transfer window, ending a two-year stay at Inter where he won the Serie A title last season.
He has since scored seven goals in 18 appearances in a campaign blighted by an ankle injury and a positive test for coronavirus.
However, Lukaku sparked controversy when an interview conducted with Sky Sport Italia earlier this month was aired, in which he said: “Physically I’m doing great. I’m just not very happy with the situation, but that’s normal.
“I think the boss has decided to play a different formation, but I have to stick at it and get on with it professionally. I’m not happy with the situation, but it’s my job and I mustn’t give up.”
The Athletic has now reported Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has opted to omit Lukaku from the squad to face Liverpool in what is viewed as a must-win game amid flagging title hopes, with the Blues 11 points adrift of leaders Manchester City.
Addressing the comments pre-game, Tuchel said he has no issue with Lukaku but questioned his reasons for giving the interview, saying the striker had “brought noise we do not need”.
“You have a quote from another match, another direction, and he said he had a chat with me. And then the suggestion comes that he was not happy,” Tuchel said.
“Managers have chats with lots of players, where we want them, where he should be, when to arrive in spaces.
“This is a super normal chat and we had it with Romelu, and before he played we had a discussion about him being on the bench because other players suited more the style of play.
“Romelu played when he came, then he got injured, then he caught COVID and when he came back he played with no training against Aston Villa and then against Brighton.
“There is zero going on. I do not have to understand why he did it, it does not make it better, but it is not my situation – I will not enter into finding reasons now to understand the interview.
“I don’t want to, I don’t have to, and I don’t have a reason to. We have zero problems. He gave an interview, if he has problems, he has to speak about them.”
In the same interview, Lukaku went on to express his desire to one day return to the Nerazzurri.
“Now, I think it’s right to talk because I have always said I have Inter in my heart. I’ll go back to play there, I really hope so,” he said. “I love Italy; this is the right time to talk and let people know what happened without speaking badly about people, because I’m not like that.
“I want to say a big apology to the Inter fans because I think the way I left should have been different. I should have talked to you first because the things you’ve done for me, for my family, my mother, my son, are things that will stay with me for life.
“I really hope, from the bottom of my heart, to return to Inter. Not at the end of my career, but while I’m still at a good level to hope to win more.”
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