Romelu Lukaku has only scored five Premier League goals this season. Belgium manager Roberto Martinez won’t guarantee Lukaku a spot in his starting lineup.
Roberto Martinez, Belgium manager, insists that he will not decide on Romelu’s World Cup role until September despite his poor form for Chelsea.
Lukaku (28 years old) is one of Europe’s most prominent footballers, but he has only scored five Premier League goals since joining the Blues from Inter Milan last year. Since 2001, he has been the leading attackman in Belgium and scored 68 goals in 101 caps.
After admitting that he was unhappy at Stamford Bridge, Lukaku’s form dropped. He hasn’t scored since the controversial interview at Christmas, which he later apologised for. He has also not played in any of Chelsea’s five last league games.
Martinez has refused to give Lukaku a place in his Belgium team for the World Cup in Qatar in Qatar. It starts in November. According to the former manager of Wigan and Everton, Martinez will assess Lukaku’s situation following the summer transfer window.
“We are talking about players, like Romelu, who have got over 100 caps and are part of this group of players who know the national team inside out,” Martinez told reporters.
“I’m not going to judge or assess the condition of any player until after the summer because it is not a normal situation. It is still seven months to the World Cup and probably you will go into the details of how a player feels when it gets closer to it than now.
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“There will be many players who move clubs or feel differently in the summer. Romelu should be evaluated on how he feels in September. This is similar to Eden Hazard’s assessment. However, he is one player for whom the summer could prove to be a pivotal moment in their career.”
On his relationship with Lukaku, Martinez added: “We speak all the time, we have a close relationship. While I would not tell a player what to think, we often share our thoughts. Romelu is currently in a good spot. He is so determined.
“He was delighted to win the Club World Cup and the next step is to finish the season strong with Chelsea and make sure he can feel very important.”
Roman Abramovich, Lukaku’s owner, has placed restrictions on Lukaku so that he cannot leave Chelsea in the summer. UK authorities imposed sanctions on the Russian oligarch for allegedly being connected to Vladimir Putin. He denies this.
Russia is waging unprovoked and bloody war against Ukraine. Chelsea operates under a special license which limits their revenue streams. Because the government is concerned that the money they make from players could be used to finance Putin’s war machine, they cannot sell them players.
Tuchel spoke out about Lukaku’s future: “We cannot sell and we cannot buy. Romelu still plays a big part in our plans. I feel him very motivated, very strong in training. Very much involved when we do the games… we need every single player and of course Romelu.”