In the aftermath of Romelu Lukaku’s record breaking transfer to Everton, Jose Mourinho has questioned the 21-year old’s desire and motivation
One man who has the right to judge Lukaku as a footballer and a man, would seemingly disagree with the Chelsea manager
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While others involved in this summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil were relaxing on the beach enjoying an extended pre-season break, one player put a call in to his ex-club in order to cut his holiday short.
The plan was to work on his condition and sharpness in preparation for the new Premier League season.
When Besnik Hasi, Anderlecht’s manager, received the call from new Everton signing Romelu Lukaku requesting he be allowed to join Anderlecht’s first team squad for a week of pre-season training, the ex-Albanian international agreed immediately – with one caveat – Lukaku had to follow Hasi’s orders.
“I had one specific condition when he [Lukaku] called me to ask if he could train with us,” explained Hasi with a smile.
“He had to follow my training plan – but at certain moments I was forced to reign him in – this was only his first week back in training but he was going full out.
“He really only ever wants to play football and he was so euphoric [to be training again] I had a problem trying to curb his enthusiasm.”
“This is not to say Lukaku hasn’t intergrated with the group, Romelu is a very social guy,” added Hasi.
Having known and worked with the big Belgian since he signed for Anderlecht as a 16-year old in 2006, there are not many in football who can claim to know Romelu Lukaku, the player and the man, as Besnik Hasi can.
And the 42-year old Anderlecht boss was delighted to note the progress Lukaku has made since making the move from Brussels to England.
“He used to sometimes be asleep in the box,” said Hasi.
“In England he has learned he has to be alive for every ball. The level he has reached is now very much higher.”
Perhaps, if he could have scaled his ego to get to his phone, Jose Mourinho should have followed Lukaku’s lead and given Besnik Hasi a call. Maybe then, the Chelsea manager may have learned at least something about his own player.
Or was the Portuguese under orders from his Russian paymaster to claw back some of the hundreds of millions spent to bring Chelsea to where they are today? After all, he could not have had many offers for another of his striking options, a certain £50m Spanish international.
Whatever the case, for ecstatic Evertonians and a player who wants nothing more than to play football, Chelsea’s loss is Lukaku’s and Everton’s gain.
The Besnik Hasi interview first appeared in Nieuwsblad.be