Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku gave the perfect answer to people who ‘wanted to see hm fail’. The Manchester United star “remembered to have fun” and scored a well-deserved brace.
He felt that many Belgium supporters do not appreciate him and are unaware of his poverty-hit childhood.
“If you weren’t with me when I had nothing, then you can’t really understand me,” he said.
“When I went to Chelsea and I wasn’t playing, I heard them laughing at me. When I got loaned out to West Brom, I heard them laughing at me.
“But it’s cool. Those people weren’t with me when we were pouring water in our cereal.”
Lukaku spoke about his childhood and struggles to support his family by becoming a professional footballer.
He made his debut for hometown club Anderlecht after a prolific spell in local football which was marred by moments of prejudice.
“When I was 11 years old, I was playing for the Lierse youth team, and one of the parents from the other team literally tried to stop me from going on the pitch,” he said. “He was like, ‘How old is this kid? Where is his ID? Where is he from?’
Lukaku joined Manchester United from Everton for an initial £75m fee last summer and scored 27 goals in his debut season.
He is joined in Roberto Martinez’s squad by his 23-year-old brother Jordan.
“Two kids from the same house, the same situation, who made it out,” he said.
“I’m going to remember to have fun this time. Life is too short for the stress and the drama.”
Lukaku was proud of representing his country, despite the critics, and his ambition to become a legend.
“If you don’t like the way I play, that’s fine,” he said. “But I was born here. I grew up in Antwerp, and Liege and Brussels.
“I wanted to be the best footballer in Belgian history. That was my goal. Not good. Not great. The best.
“I played with so much anger, because of a lot of things. Because the rats running around in our apartment. Because I couldn’t watch the Champions League.
“Because of how the other parents used to look at me.”