Chelsea accused of making ‘hostage’ video as Lukaku grovels
Chelsea record signing Romelu Lukaku has issued a humbling apology for the chaos caused by a recent unauthorized interview, but some fans have suggested that the Belgian is being ‘held hostage’ at the Blues.
Lukaku returned to Stamford Bridge in a record £97.5 million ($130 million) deal in the summer but ignited uproar after telling Sky in Italy that he was already unhappy with life under manager Thomas Tuchel.
As a result of the comments, the Belgian was dropped from the Chelsea squad for their crucial Premier League encounter with Liverpool last weekend and will reportedly be fined at least a week’s wages – believed to be in the region of £325,000.
Blues boss Tuchel said in a press conference on Tuesday that the row had been resolved after Lukaku apologized, with the German coach bringing the forward back into the fold for the League Cup semi-final first leg against Tottenham on Wednesday night.
Lukaku, 28, has now gone public with an apology directly to the Chelsea faithful which the club shared on its social media channels.
A message from Romelu.— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 4, 2022
“To the fans, I’m sorry for the upset that I caused. You guys know the connection that I have with this club since my teenage years, so I totally understand you guys being upset,” Lukaku said into the camera.
“Obviously, it’s up to me now to restore your trust and I’ll do my best to show commitment every day on the training ground and in the games, trying to make sure we win games.
“Also, to the manager I apologize and to my teammates and the board, because I think it was not the right moment (to give the interview).
“I want to move forward from this and make sure that we start winning football games and I perform for the best team in the best manner.”
In a longer version of the message, Lukaku admitted that he should have been “clearer” and explained that he had merely intended to bid a respectful farewell to fans at Inter Milan – the club he left under a cloud in August after helping them to a first Serie A title in more than a decade.
“Because the interview was about saying goodbye to the Inter fans, it was not about trying to disrespect the (Chelsea) fans, the football club, the owner, my teammates, the technical staff,” Lukaku added.
“Because they made a lot of efforts for me to come back here and I wanted to come back here. I was on a mission to come back since I left, so I totally understand the frustrations of the fans.
“But now it's on me to make sure my commitment is at 100% and I will do that in every game.”
Those efforts will likely begin against a Tottenham team on Wednesday which is managed by former Blues boss Antonio Conte – the man under whom Lukaku enjoyed so much success in Milan.
While Lukaku’s apology amassed more than 75,000 ‘likes’ on the Chelsea Twitter account, plenty of the reaction was from fans mocking the message or even claiming – tongue-in-cheek – that the Belgian was being held ‘hostage’ at the Bridge.
This whole Lukaku fiasco is very much your girlfriend at school speaking to another lad in the playground. Absolutely incredible that it's resulted in him making a hostage-esque apology video. What strange times we live in. https://t.co/T6hNMAahTn— Alex Brotherton (@alex_brotherton) January 5, 2022
Romelu Lukaku is being held hostage in London. Please send help. pic.twitter.com/xIOaq8v1fe— Яichard Shaw-Wright #PeopleAreIdiots (@thersw) January 4, 2022
"If chesea fans forgive me, their forgiveness will never match the forgiveness inter fans gave me" pic.twitter.com/rNn2DRkaKK— Flinch (@itswamai) January 4, 2022
Elsewhere, plenty of memes brought up the name of billionaire Blues manager Roman Abramovich.
Chelsea fans meanwhile called on Lukaku to back up his vow his of doing his talking on the pitch from now on, where he has managed seven goals in 18 appearances in an injury- and Covid-hit return to life at Stamford Bridge.
It’s time to do your talking on the pitch Romelu, for all the fans that have supported you. pic.twitter.com/nj91vP5NPA— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) January 4, 2022
Score a hat-trick tomorrow and celebrate in front of Conte for a true apology 😅👍— Tuk ⭐⭐ (@CFCTuk) January 4, 2022
"it wasn't the right moment" so when was the right moment to disrespect us??— KALYJAY (@gyaigyimii) January 4, 2022
Generic PR message. Will take a lot more than that to win the fans over— CfcSheikh (@CfcSheikh) January 4, 2022
The best way for Lukaku to get straight back into the good books with Blues fans would surely be a goalscoring return against bitter London rivals Spurs at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.