Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Belgium beat Tunisia 5-2 in their second group game of the 2018 World Cup, taking his tally to four goals from two games. The 25-year-old is joint-top in the scoring charts with Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal & Real Madrid), with Denis Cheryshev (Russia & Villarreal) and Diego Costa (Spain & Atletico Madrid) in joint-second place with three goals each.
Lukaku has been a terrific servant for Belgium, scoring an impressive 40 goals in 71 appearances. At the same age, Ronaldo only had 22 goals in 69 games for Portugal while Lionel Messi had 26 in 70 for Argentina. And yet, the United centre-forward seldom gets the plaudits from the mainstream media. He’s Belgium’s all-time top goalscorer and is only 25 years of age. Lukaku could double his tally by the time he retires.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will have certainly been keeping a close eye on his striker during the World Cup and will be pleased with what he’s seen. That’s not to see Lukaku hasn’t already proven his worth at club level, scoring 27 goals in 51 games for United after joining from Everton last summer.
The centre-forward has played for Chelsea, West Bromwich Albion and Everton, flopping at only Chelsea (15 appearances, 0 goals) which was down to the lack of opportunities presented to him. Lukaku scored 17 goals in 38 games during a loan spell at Albion as a teenager in 2012/13 and proved he wasn’t a one-hit wonder when he netted 87 goals in 166 games for Everton.
He’s now at one of the biggest football clubs in the world and has maintained a goal every other game in all competitions. Lukaku’s club form has been outstanding and he’s surpassing his 1-in-2 ratio at the World Cup. For Belgium, the former Anderlecht star has netted in 10 of his last 11 international appearances, scoring 17 goals in total. But he’s oddly never spoken about in the same breath as Ronaldo when it comes to goals for his country.
In the last two years, Lukaku has scored 23 goals. He came into the World Cup in sensation form and has carried it on in Russia. The sky is the limit for the 25-year-old and Manchester United will be delighted to see him so full of goals this summer. Belgium have booked their place into the next round of the World Cup, largely thanks to Lukaku and they could go far if they keep their striker fit.
As for United, Mourinho will be desperate to mount a genuine title challenge to Manchester City next season, after finishing 19 points adrift in the Premier League. It appears Lukaku could finally be the 30-goal-a-season man they’ve needed.