Manchester United supporters wasted no time in mocking Romelu Lukaku following his World Cup nightmare. Belgium were held to a goalless draw with Croatia to crash out in Qatar at the group stage.
Former United striker Lukaku came off the bench at half-time to make his second appearance of the tournament… but the move proved a disaster. A string of injuries in recent months has seen the 29-year-old feature just five times for Inter Milan this season.
In their hour of desperate need, Belgium boss Roberto Martinez gambled by throwing a half-fit Lukaku on at half-time. However, to say the move backfired would be an understatement.
The 6ft 3in forward missed a hatful of simple chances – including an open goal – as his country limped out of the World Cup. Tensions erupted at the final whistle, with Lukaku taking his frustrations out at the substitutes’ bench.
Despite showing initial promise following his £90million move, Lukaku failed to live up to the hype at Old Trafford. Just 15 goals in 42 appearances in his second season saw him lose his place under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – but that did not stop the Belgian from taking a swipe at Man United after his controversial exit.
“I told them it was better to go our separate ways,” he said in August 2019. “If you don’t want to protect somebody, all these rumours come out. I just wanted you to say ‘Rom is going to fight for his place’, but it never happened for four or five months.
“There is fighting for your position, but also being somewhere that people want you to be. If you’re happy, you find a way, it doesn’t matter if you’re on the bench or starting.
“But nobody told me that was the situation, so I thought for two, three weeks to analyse, see all this **** coming out in the media. Who leaks it? Not me. Not my agent. I see it on my phone come out of nowhere.”
United supporters had the last laugh on social media after Lukaku’s embarrassing performance for Belgium. Some even used the moment to fire one final dig at ex-CEO Ed Woodward.