Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has revealed that his dream of playing under current boss Jose Mourinho was a big factor in his decision to join the club over Chelsea last summer.
Mourinho had initially sold Lukaku to Everton after a couple of loan spells away from Stamford Bridge - during which time he was unable to break into the club's first team. Lukaku went on to make a name for himself on Merseyside, prompting both the reigning champions and his former manager to target him before the season started.
Lukaku ended up choosing United and moved for an initial £75m, and spoke about his choice in an interview with ESPN Brasil.
He said: “I had a dream of playing for the manager, Jose Mourinho. When I was little, at the age of 11, I was at Chelsea. I was talking to my mum and dad that I wanted to play for him, because I really like his personality as a manager.
“He won many titles for Chelsea and Porto and now I’m very happy that I work with him. Because he’s a manager who knows what he needs to do to win the match and with him I learn a lot.”
Lukaku also took time to reflect on his first few months at United - which have been mixed and laced with criticism: “First six months I did very well, we won a lot of matches, I scored a lot of goals too. Now it is difficult because City are 13 points away, it’s very difficult.
“For me, I have confidence that if City lose a few matches and we win, the distance is shorter. For me, the league is not finished as long as City don’t have it.
“Next up (for us) is to win titles. It’s the ambition of the club, it is my ambition as well, to be a great player in the history of football. And win more titles. This for me is very important, for me it is a child’s dream, and now I will do everything to fulfil this dream.”
Lukaku has scored 19 goals in all competitions for United since joining, and conducted the interview in Portuguese - one of six languages he can speak - and also revealed that former Brazilian striker Adriano was one of his idols growing up.
Adriano shone for both Parma and Inter in his youth, but failed to reach the promise of his youth as his career progressed - despite possessing all the tools required to be one of the best forwards of his generation.
On the player and his language skills, Lukaku added: “Now my Portuguese is not very good, because when I was at Chelsea, I talked a lot with David Luiz, Willian, (Jose) Bosingwa. I do not have a player to talk to now. It’s very difficult to speak Portuguese.
“I have a good relationship with people from Brazil. And I really like Brazilian players. When I was little, Adriano was my great idol. Because when I was little, I had the same qualities as him.
“Very strong, shooting with the left was the same. I hope he’s going to play again because he’s a good player. For me he’s an idol. I like him a lot.”