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Poverty was and still is his greatest motivation

Today he is one of the best Belgian football players, being among five players who ever scored 50 goals in the Premier League before the age of 23, and holding a record for the most goals scored for the Belgian National Team. Everton sold him to Manchester United last year for £75 million, making him one of the best-paid players in the club, with a salary of £200,000 per week. But it was not always like this for 25-years-old Romelu Lukaku. In fact, he recently opened up in a post on how his family struggled with poverty when he was growing up. 

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Getting sharper.. Good win ⚽️ @belgianreddevils

A post shared by Romelu Lukaku (@romelulukaku) on

Lukaku recalls the moment he realized his family was poor when he found his mother mixing water with milk because they couldn’t afford enough to last through the week. “I was six years old, and I came home for lunch during our break at school. My mum had the same thing on the menu every single day: Bread and milk. When you’re a kid, you don’t even think about it. But I guess that’s what we could afford,” he wrote.

Money became a problem when his father retired from football. He remembers they had to shut the cable TV, would go without electricity for weeks, had no hot water, and had to sleep on the floor. His mum even “borrowed” bread in the bakery and pay it at the end of the week, so the family wouldn’t starve. “We were broke. Not just poor, but broke,” Lukaku writes. “I knew we were struggling. But when she was mixing in water with the milk, I realized it was over, you know what I mean? This was our life.”

This was a striking point for Lukaku, that sparked him on to strive for a better life, for himself and for his family. He knew what he had to do – he made a promise to himself, he is going to play professional football as soon as he reaches sixteen. And he was not fooling around. He gave all in, playing every time, on every practice, as it was Finals. “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 of 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,” he wrote.  

Nothing seems to have bogged him down, not even 76 goals he scored in 34 games at the age of 12, wearing his dad’s shoes. “Once our feet got to be the same size, we used to share,” he remembers. At the beginning of the season when he became a pro, he was barely playing for the Anderlecht U-19s, as the coach had him coming off the bench. So he made a bet for pancakes, that he will score 25 goals till December if he’ll let him play. “That was the dumbest bet that man ever made,” he writes. “I had 25 by November. We were eating pancakes before Christmas, bro. Let that be a lesson. You don’t play around with a boy who’s hungry!”

Lukaku made to achieve what he was aiming for on point. He played his first professional game 11 days after his 16th birthday, in the playoff final Anderlecht vs. Standard Liège. He still remembers getting off the bus at the stadium wearing a “terrible tracksuit”, while his mates were wearing “cool suits”, with all TV cameras pointed on him. He remembers they lost the final, but he was already in heaven. “I made good on my promise to my mother and to my grandad. That was the moment I knew we were gonna be O.K.”

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Thanks for the support 💯

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Do you recognize the role of our company in this kind of athlete’s transformation? There are many young talents like Lukaku, who struggle to get through life because of poor financial background. A financial help in the early stages of their career could make a great deal, and that’s why SportyCo is important. If our platform existed back then, Lukaku’s family would probably have a full fridge a lot sooner and imagine what would that mean for you, investors. 😉

Romelu Lukaku story is, however, a big inspiration, not just for young footballers, but to all of us. There are many things we can learn from it, but one is for sure: everything is possible if you put your mind and heart to it.

Source: The Players Tribune