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Why Di Canio Was Wrong about His Judgement of Lukaku When Compared to Victor Osimhen

Criticism is one thing you cannot avoid in life or as a professional footballer irrespective of your achievements. Football lovers are only interested in instantaneous satisfaction and not history as they believe the latter will fade away with time. This is the case of Romelu Lukaku coming under the radar of derogatory critique due to his lack of goals in recent matches.

Romelu Lukaku finalized a return to Chelsea after leaving about eleven years ago. He signed for a reported fee of about £97.5m in a five-year deal. Many believe he didn't return to the club for the huge wages but rather to prove a point that the youngster that was once sold out is back to complete his unfinished business.

Yes, his return was kingly as he marked with it with a goal against fellow London Club Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium and went on to score three more goals for the club. However, after scoring four goals, he ran out of oil as he went on to play seven more games without a goal which caught the attention of former Premier League manager Paolo Di Canio.

Di Canio is a former professional footballer who played for the Italy national team as well as top-flight teams in Serie A. He also had a stint in English football for seven(7) years between 1997-2004. After retirement, he had an opportunity to manage Premier League side Sunderland but was later sacked after 13 games due to a poor run of results. During an interview with Sky Sports Italia Calico Club, he was pouring praises at Victor Osimhen and then remembered how a pundit made a comparison between the Nigeria striker and Romelu Lukaku. He said:

I heard Giuseppe Bergomi comparing Victor Osimhen and Lukaku. But Osimhen has a different spirit, he’s not dull like him. When the difficulty increased he [Lukaku] scored no goals in five games with Chelsea and it’s not Chelsea’s fault, they are first even without his goals. Lukaku does not score. Lukaku is a functional player, just as Llorente was in Antonio Conte’s Juventus. Even if Lukaku is stronger than Llorente, Lukaku is still functional to a certain type of game.”

Victor Osimhen is no doubt in the best form of his career, scoring nine goals and an assist in ten games played for Napoli. He is pacy, strong, and has great footwork for a player in the center-forward role. He was on target for his side yesterday in their 3-0 win over Legia Warsaw in the UEFA Europa Conference League. I will agree with Di Canio on his narrative of the Nigerian Striker as a high-spirited player and a great goal scorer judging by his unbelievable stats so far this season but strongly disagree with him on Romelu Lukaku.

Dubbing a player like Romelu Lukaku as being dull is unthinkable when you watch video clips of the Belgium international taking on defenders, cutting into the box and shooting, demonstrating great reflex in the box, and getting behind defenders to score goals. Lukaku might have a body figure that portrays him as being huge and dull but his athleticism and prowess in front of goal says otherwise.

For instance, in Chelsea's game against Aston Villa which he scored a brace, one could see how quick he was to cut the onrushing defender off before scoring the second goal. Also, against Arsenal, his great positioning for the tap-in could attest to his quickness. Not to mention in Belgium's match against France, the way he skipped past Theo to fire a shot into the back of the net is a wonder.

Lukaku is no doubt undergoing a tough moment at Chelsea right now but that isn't enough reason why he should be described as dull and functional. He will find his feet sooner than expected and I hope by then the Italian icon would have changed his perception about the Belgium international.


PHOTO CREDITS: Google Images, Getty Images, Sky Sports, Facebook.


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