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Friday, April 19, 2024

Romelu Lukaku consoled 18-year-old ‘phenomenon’ for Man Utd in 2017 – now he shares a pitch with him

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Romelu Lukaku never really had the career he would’ve hoped for at Manchester United.

The big Belgian arrived at Old Trafford as one of the Premier League‘s most prolific goalscorers. He scored a whopping 87 goals in 167 games for Everton before joining the Red Devils. He started off fantastically in red.

He scored 27 goals in his debut United season. However, he slowly dropped off and his performances became more and more comical. They eventually sold him to Inter Milan in 2019 – a good decision. United cashed in £74 million for Lukaku, the club’s second-biggest ever sale of all time.

He remains to this day a rather controversial figure in football, but there was one Lukaku moment for United that oozed class.

SL Benfica v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Romelu Lukaku and Mile Svilar’s story

Manchester United took on Benfica in 2017 in a Champions League clash – where the Red Devils prevailed 1 – 0 in Portugal.

Jose Mourinho‘s side put in a classic ‘Mourinho-esque’ performance which was ultimately decided by a horrendous mistake from Benfica’s goalkeeper.

Belgian Mile Svilar, still the competition’s youngest goalkeeper ever at just 18 years and 52 days old, had a moment to forget when he carried Marcus Rashford‘s 35-yard free-kick over his own goalline.


Svilar was visibly upset at full-time, so Lukaku took the time to console his fellow countryman Svilar after his mistake gave United the win.

Romelu Lukaku and Mile Svilar now play together at Roma

Today, they’re teammates at Roma, and now 23-year-old Svilar started on Thursday in their 4-0 UEL win against Brighton. A great full-circle story.

Svilar has become the first choice under new head coach Daniele De Rossi – who has been rewarded for putting faith in him.

He has been sensational since coming in and has been a big factor in Roma turning their season around post-Mourinho.

AS Roma v Feyenoord: Knockout Round Play-offs Second Leg - UEFA Europa League 2023/24

Photo by Fabio Rossi/AS Roma via Getty Images

Jose Mourinho signed Svilar for Roma

It was in fact Mourinho who brought the young keeper to Rome. He has always been a big fan of his, as shown by his post-match comments after Manchester United’s win against Benfica in 2017.

“He is a phenomenon, he is amazing,” said Mourinho “Only great goalkeepers suffer goals like this.

“Either Benfica has a top goalkeeper for many years, or the president should prepare a big suitcase (for the money).

“Only top keepers concede these goals. Because bad keepers stay on their line; bad keepers don’t come out for crosses; bad keepers don’t try to analyse the game; bad keepers don’t use their space to give cover like he did in the first half a few times.

“I knew before the match – this keeper is phenomenal.”

It’s no surprise that in 2022 Mourinho made Svilar a top priority for Roma, and he got his man. But it wasn’t for big bucks as Jose predicted, he joined on a free after dropping off at Benfica for a while.

He seems to be reviving his career as of late. Good for him.

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