It’s human nature to compare new phenomenons to something we are already familiar with.
Football is no different. Every time a new player emerges we rush to compare them to someone that has gone before.
For Kylian Mbappe read the ‘new Ronaldo’. For Gianluigi Donnarumma read the ‘new Buffon’.
While Romelu Lukaku is something of an experienced professional now, despite only being 23, he’s still often compared to Didier Drogba.
But is there anything in the comparison, aside from the fact they’re both fine physical specimens?
Lukaku is halfway through his ninth season in professional football, spent over spells with Anderlecht, Chelsea, West Brom and Everton.
In that time he’s scored 114 league goals, all of which have come in the top tier of the nation he’s been playing in, whether that’s Belgium or England.
By comparison, it wasn’t until his fourth season of senior football that Drogba got his first taste of top flight football with Guingamp, having started out at Le Mans.
When Drogba was halfway through his ninth season of professional football he’d scored 91 league goals, some way behind Lukaku.
Lukaku made his senior debut as a 16-year-old and has since gone on to score 20 goals in eight years of international football.
These include a World Cup strike against USA in 2014 and a double against Republic of Ireland at Euro 2016.
Eight years into Drogba’s international career with Ivory Coast the striker had scored exactly double Lukaku’s tally.
He also had the honour of scoring his country’s first ever World Cup goal when he netted against Argentina in 2006, although Ivory Coast’s ‘golden generation’ couldn’t get out of the group.
One of the main arguments towards Lukaku not yet being world class is that his goals haven’t yet contributed towards major honours.
He won the Belgian Pro League in 2010, scoring 16 goals, while he was a part of Chelsea’s FA Cup win in 2012, but aside from that there is plenty of room in his trophy cabinet for more silverware.
Drogba had been more successful by this stage of his career, winning two Premier League titles with Chelsea and two domestic cups- the FA Cup and the Charity Shield.
Eight goals during Everton’s run in Europe’s secondary competition saw Lukaku crowned the Europa League top scorer in 2015.
That was his second top scorer award, having won the Belgian Golden Boot in 2010, with 15 goals, adding to his Belgian Ebony Shoe win in 2011, handed out to the best player of African origin in the Belgian Pro League.
Drogba had plenty to show for the first nine and a half years of his career, including a French Player of the Year award, Ivory Coast Player of the Year award and the African Player of the Year.
He’d also finish the 2006/07 season as the Premier League Golden Boot, which Lukaku is in line to do if he can hold off the chasing pack.
So while Lukaku has more league goals, Drogba was ahead of him in terms of European goals, international strikes and honours- both team and individual.
But the most impressive thing about Drogba’s career was that he kicked on and continued dominating into his thirties.
Can Lukaku do the same? Come back to us in ten years time and we’ll let you know.