Romelu Lukaku's most iconic moments for Man United, Belgium and more

Having played at the top level for years, it is easy to forget Romelu Lukaku is still only 28. To commemorate his first goal back at Chelsea, we look back on some of the Belgian's most iconic moments

Starting his career at Anderlecht, Romelu Lukaku was introduced to senior soccer at the tender age of 16.

Despite his early introduction to the Belgian Pro League, the striker thrived under Ariel Jacobs' management, utilising his pace and physicality to dominate Belgian defences.

After receiving individual recognition and a league championship, the Antwerp-born forward moved on to Chelsea, where he rarely featured before subsequent loan moves to West Brom and Everton.

Goodison Park quickly became Lukaku's home, as he joined the Toffees on a permanent deal for a club-record fee.

Three seasons at Everton led to a £75million Manchester United move, where, carrying the burden of a hefty price tage, the Belgian struggled to make an impact.

In 2019, he was shifted on to Inter for a reported fee of around £80million. He scored 34 goals in all competition in 2019/20 before adding a further 24 league goals the following season as Inter clinched the Serie A title.

It is form that persuaded Champions League winners Chelsea to shell out £97.5million on their former striker. 

So, with Lukaku back in London and already scoring it is an ideal time for Planet Sport to take a look at some of the standout moments from Lukaku's career.

Early success with Anderlecht

Just the 131 goals in 93 youth matches for Anderlecht was enough to grant the forward a place in their first team.

Debuting in 2009, Lukaku took a year to establish himself before becoming a mainstay in the Pro League side.

The following season, after a first ever senior goal against Zulte Waregem, Lukaku picked up 15 goals, making him the Pro League's top goalscorer for 2009/10, while also collecting Anderlecht's 30th Belgian title.

In the Belgian side's run to the Europa League last 16 in 2009/10 he scored four goals before they crashed out to the eventual semi-finalists Hamburg.

Anderlecht failed to retain their league title but Lukaku still managed to accumulate 20 goals in all competitions, earning him a move to Stamford Bridge in 2011 for a reported £17million.

Making a name for himself at West Brom

A disappointing debut season at Chelsea was next for the Belgian, as he featured infrequently with the Blues rarely offering him first-team chances.

Lukaku made his frustrations clear and a season-long loan move was seen as the best way to revitalise his career and show those at Stamford Bridge what they were missing.

The striker would in fact show his parent club what they were missing, as he outscored all his Chelsea team-mates in the 2012/13 Premier League season, amassing 17 goals for West Brom.

Within those 17 goals, there was a second-half perfect hat-trick against Manchester United in a remarkable 5-5 draw - the highest-scoring draw in English top-flight history.

Despite suggestions the Belgian would stay at the Hawthorns for another year, he moved on to another loan move, this time with Everton.

Everton's record signing

Finding the net 15 times in 31 Premier League games, Lukaku helped the Toffees to a club-record 72 points and fifth-place finish.

Unsurprisingly, Roberto Martinez rewarded the forward with a five-year deal, signing him from the Blues for a reported £28million.

Similar league success did not follow the next year. However, Lukaku enjoyed a purple patch in Europe, scoring eight goals to finish as the Europa League's joint-highest goalscorer.

In 2015/16, the Belgian's permanent move started to pay dividends for the Toffees.

A goal against Aston Villa in November made him the fifth player under the age of 23 to score 50 Premier League goals.

This meant he joined an illustrious club which included Robbie Fowler, Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and Cristiano Ronaldo.

More records came in December, as finishes against Norwich City and Leicester City made him the first player to score in six consecutive top-flight games for Everton and also the first since 1954 to score in eight consecutive matches in all competitions.

The striker's 21st goal of the season, away at Bournemouth, equalled Everton's previous record, set by Yakubu in 2007/08, for the highest number of goals scored in all competitions in a season.

Finally, in March, Lukaku capped off a remarkable season with a 17th league goal at Villa Park, surpassing the previous record held by Tony Cottee and Andrei Kanchelskis to set a Premier League-era record for the Toffees.

In his final year on Merseyside, in 2016/17, he was named in the PFA Team of the Year for the first time.

Numerous records were broken during his final year, as he surpassed Duncan Ferguson's club-record number of goals in the Premier League era (68), while also becoming the first Evertonian since Gary Lineker to score 20 or more league goals in a season.

The standout performance, however, came as he scored four goals in a 6-3 thriller against Bournemouth in November.

Scoring against Hull City made him the first foreign player to 80 goals before the age of 24 before Lukaku then became the first Toffee since Bob Latchford to score 25 goals in two consecutive seasons in all competitions.

Manchester United, 100 Premier League goals and that night in Paris

Encouraged by his domestic domination at Goodison Park, Manchester United were the Belgian forward's next suitors, signing him for a reported £75million in 2017.

In September, he scored twice in a 4-1 crushing of CSKA Moscow, making it 10 goals in his first nine appearances, overtaking Sir Bobby Charlton's previous club-best of nine goals in his first nine appearances.

A fairly quiet season by the Belgian's standards came after his record-breaking start. However, an opening goal against Swansea signified his 100th Premier League goal in just 216 games, making him the fifth youngest of 28 players to join the hundred club.

After Jose Mourinho's failure in Manchester, the Belgian would then ply his trade under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

A fractious start to the relationship between the pair followed, as the Norwegian left the Antwerp-born forward out of his first two matchday squads.

Solskjaer continued to prefer Marcus Rashford up top but the Belgian returned into United's good books with consecutive braces against Crystal Palace, Southampton and Paris Saint-Germain - the last of which will remain fondly in the memories of any Red Devil for years to come.

Despite conceding a two-goal disadvantage in the first leg of the Champions League tie, United bounced back with a 3-1 win at the Parc des Princes and, in doing so, became the first team to ever progress after losing at home in the first leg by two or more goals.

The famous night in Paris would not have been possible without Lukaku, who scored twice against the Parisians, before allowing Rashford to take the crucial, injury-time match-winning penalty, despite the Belgian sitting on the possibility of a hat-trick.

Joining Inter and equalling Ronaldo's record

Ending his Premier League tally with an outstanding 113 goals in just 252 games, Lukaku left English shores for Inter Milan, who produced another club-record fee for the Belgian, this time reported to be around £80million.

Forming a formidable partnership with Lautaro Martinez up front, the ex-Anderlecht striker recorded nine goals in his first 11 appearances for the club, equalling Ronaldo's record.

A brace against Genoa in March then made him the first player since Istvan Nyers in 1950 to score 15 away Serie A goals and the first to do so in his debut season.

As has been the case all of Lukaku's career, more individual records were shattered as he began to dominate the Italian top flight.

Only Ronaldo (25) and Nyers (26) scored more in their debut season for Inter, while Lukaku also equalled Ronaldo's Inter record of 34 goals in all competitions in a singular season.

The Belgian did not just create headlines domestically, as he also surpassed Alan Shearer in 2004/05 by scoring in 10 consecutive Europa League matches. By contrast, Shearer only managed to score in a mere eight consecutive matches.

Heading into 2021 under Antonio Conte, the Belgian became the fastest to 50 goals in all competitions for Inter, taking just 70 games across all competitions to reach the landmark.

The previous record was held, once again, by Ronaldo, who needed 77 games to garner the same output.

Inter went on to win Serie A for the first time since 2009/10, with Lukaku contributing 24 goals and 11 assists.

Belgium's all-time top goalscorer

The forward made his senior international debut in 2010 against Croatia and grabbed his first two senior international goals versus Russia the same year.

Despite a barren spell of almost two years, the Belgian returned to form for his nation, scoring against the Netherlands in 2012 to somewhat resurrect his international career.

Five years later and 27 goals later, Lukaku matched the all-time Belgium goalscoring record set by Bernard Voorhoof and Paul van Himst, with a brace in a 3-3 draw with Mexico.

The next match, the all-time record was his as he scored in a 1-0 win over Japan to take his international tally to 31, still aged just 24 years old.

However, some slight complications occurred, as FIFA refused to recognise Lukaku's hat-trick past Luxembourg in 2014 due to Marc Wilmots exceeding the substitution limit, and thus suggested the Belgian forward had only scored 28 goals.

A year later, in 2018, Lukaku officially became the all-time record Belgian goalscorer, as he grabbed his 31st official international goal in a 3-0 win over Egypt.

Unsatisfied by simply surpassing the goalscoring record, the striker carried on his incredible international form, bagging his 50th international goal versus San Marino in 2019.

2018 World Cup joy and Bronze Boot

After back-to-back braces at the 2018 World Cup, namely against Panama and Tunisia, Lukaku became the first player since Diego Maradona in 1986 to score two or more goals in consecutive World Cup fixtures.

Despite not scoring again for the rest of the tournament, the striker's four goals earned him the World Cup's Bronze Boot, recognising him as the second joint-highest goalscorer of the competition.

Individual accolades aside, his nation - led by ex-Everton boss Martinez - finished third in the 2018 edition of the World Cup, courtesy of a 2-0 third-place play-off victory over England.

Supported by the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, this finish represented Belgium's best-ever World Cup performance.

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