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L'IMPERATORE II

Romelu Lukaku can take Adriano’s Inter Milan legacy and run with it

Andy van der Meyde’s YouTube channel proved an unlikely yet welcome place of refuge during a difficult summer for Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku’s appearance on Van der Meyde’s version of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke- Bij Andy in de auto!– followed on from his self-imposed exile at former club Anderlecht.

As a quick-witted PR agent fate would have it, the video paired a former Inter Milan star with one finalising a move from Manchester to Milan.

It took the mischievous Van der Meyde just two minutes to bring Inter up, apologising for having the Belgian sign a Man United shirt rather than the blue and black stripes, but Lukaku’s response was telling.

After laughing the incident off, Lukaku immediately enquired as to whether the Dutchman played at the San Siro during ‘the Adriano era‘.

Indeed, between 2004 and 2005 Adriano and Van der Meyde shared a pitch, although the former Everton midfielder only made 32 Serie A appearances across two seasons.

Partying on and off the pitch

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Partying on and off the pitch

It’s not hard to see why Lukaku considers Adriano to be one of his idols, along with Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka.

Lukaku and Adriano share a position, preferred foot and the ability to make defenders look like ringers from your local 5-a-side league. The type that always wear shin pads with ankle protectors.

Adriano at full sprint was a sight to behold. A man with sledgehammers for feet wasn’t meant to move as nimbly as the Brazilian did.

Lukaku is no slouch either, with now infamous pre-season statistics showing the Belgian to be the second-quickest player at Man United.

The 26-year-old will lead the line for Inter, just as Adriano did between 2004 and 2007, wearing the no.9 shirt as opposed to the Brazilian’s no.10.

Battered cod to go with your fish?

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Battered cod to go with your fish?

That’s not where the similarities end. Lukaku opened his Inter account in a 4-0 win, just as Adriano did against Sienna on 2 January 2004.

One dribble in particular, starting near the halfway line on the right-hand side and ending with Lecce defender Luca Rossettini spinning to the ground, was peak Adriano at his destructive best.

The next task for Lukaku is to build on an impressive debut showing, something Adriano ultimately failed to do.

This is no time for salsa

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This is no time for salsa

The most goals Adriano scored for Inter during a league campaign was 16. Lukaku has averaged 16 league goals across his last seven seasons at West Brom, Everton and United.

But Lukaku’s club-record transfer fee has undoubtedly raised expectations, meaning anything less than 16 goals will be seen as unsatisfactory in the eyes of the Inter board and fans.

Adriano’s legacy included inspiring a young Lukaku.

But his legacy also poses more questions than answers. His CV mirrored his supersonic left foot. Just as quickly as you saw him he was gone.

Lukaku has the chance to carry his idol’s legacy on. If his goals snatch the Scudetto from Juventus, as Adriano’s did in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, then he’ll never have to buy another meal in Milan.

Now you see him, now you don’t

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Now you see him, now you don’t

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