Chelsea Football Club star and Belgian striker, Romelu Lukaku has shared an intimate glimpse into his early years, highlighting the resilience that paved the way for his remarkable journey to stardom.
Lukaku’s reminiscence takes us back to a time when he was just a six-year-old boy, blissfully unaware of the financial hardships that loomed over his family. “I remember the exact moment I knew we were broke. I can still picture my mum at the refrigerator and the look on her face,” he recalls.
For the young Lukaku, lunchtime was synonymous with a simple meal – bread and milk, a modest offering that reflected the financial constraints his family faced. “When you’re a kid, you don’t even think about it. But I guess that’s what we could afford,” he reflects.
One fateful day, Lukaku returned home from school during lunch break, expecting the familiar bread and milk. Yet, something was different. His mother stood at the refrigerator, but this time, she was blending water with the milk. The reality hit him like a tidal wave. “She was mixing water in with the milk. We didn’t have enough money to make it last the whole week. We were broke. Not just poor, but broke,” he shares with a mix of nostalgia and determination.
The hardships extended beyond meager meals. Lukaku vividly remembers coming home to darkness, as electricity became a luxury they couldn’t afford for weeks at a time. Taking a warm bath was an unattainable luxury as well. Lukaku’s resourceful mother resorted to heating water on the stove, allowing her children a small comfort even in the face of adversity.
During their darkest hours, Lukaku’s mother displayed the kind of resilience that defined their family. She would “borrow” bread from the local bakery, a temporary lifeline of sustenance. The bakers, familiar with the struggling family, allowed her to take a loaf on Monday, knowing she’d repay them on Friday. It was a testament to the community’s support during tough times.
Through it all, Lukaku silently observed his mother’s struggle, her tears a poignant reminder of their circumstances. It was then that he made a solemn promise to himself – a vow to change their lives for the better. “I knew exactly what I had to do, and what I was going to do. I couldn’t see my mother living like that,” he asserts.
Lukaku’s promise to himself fueled his determination. He embarked on a journey that eventually led him to the pinnacle of football success. His talent blossomed, and he fulfilled his vow to his mother. “Mum, it’s gonna change. You’ll see. I’m going to play football for Anderlecht, and it’s going to happen soon. We’ll be good. You won’t have to worry anymore,” he reassured her.