Before he even arrived at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea FC and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku was being compared to the legendary Didier Drogba. Lukaku was touted as the heir apparent to the Ivorian hit man’s throne as the new King of Stamford Bridge before he even put on a Chelsea shirt. Despite these expectations, or perhaps because of them, Lukaku has yet to make any noticeable impact for the Blues and has been relegated to a series of loans since he arrived from Anderlecht.
First it was to West Bromwich Albion where he scored 20 league goals and most remarkably a hat-trick against Manchester United in Sir Alex’s last match for the club. His second season in England is being spent on loan at Everton, where he has helped propel the Merseyside club in to the race for European places. He has faced some injury issues and a significant goal drought this year but all in all he has been successful.
Drogba was asked about Lukaku before their friendly tomorrow:
“I know I am his idol and we get on well. It is flattering to see that he identifies with me. But we have to stop comparing us. He is big too, certainly, but he is already tougher and he has qualities I don’t. Of course, I have some that he will only acquire with time. He will do big things and it has already started. His progression is better than mine. At the age of 19, he was at Chelsea. I was at Le Mans.”
It is clear that Lukaku has all of the physical tools to be successful at the highest level. In terms of his development, as Drogba noted, he is miles ahead of where the Ivorian was at his age. Drogba was a late bloomer and did not play well for Chelsea until he was 25 years old, Lukaku has a chance to lead the line for the Blues at just 21. The main area of development where Lukaku has the advantage is the level of coaching he will receive from the Chelsea staff and once he patches things up with Jose Mourinho, the love and respect of his manager.
Drogba and Lukaku may seem very similar on the surface, and the youngster should be flattered to be compared to someone so beloved by Chelsea faithful. They are both big and physical strikers and are both of African descent (Lukaku’s family is from DR Congo). However, to be successful in West London, Lukaku must look to carve out his own legacy and be great in his own way. Drogba and Lukaku will face each other for the first time tomorrow when Ivory Coast take on Belgium in Brussels and it will be a fantastic sight for Chelsea fans seeing their forwards, old and new, go head to head.
Video of Lukaku’s trip to Stamford Bridge in 2011 with his school. The youngster is even wearing a Drogba shirt to the ground:
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