'I knew it would happen' – Lukaku not surprised by racism in Serie A as Inter star says UEFA 'must act'

The former Manchester United striker was subjected to racist abuse against Cagliari and says he wants deeds, not words, from governing bodies

Romelu Lukaku says he knew he would be faced with racist abuse in Serie A when he joined Inter from Manchester United this summer – but he is enjoying life in Italy regardless.

As racism continues to plague the game, the 26-year-old Belgium international was subjected to abuse from the stands when Inter beat Cagliari 2-1 in September.

He scored the winner in that game, and his total of nine league goals for Antonio Conte’s side sees him trail only Lazio’s Ciro Immobile on the Serie A top goalscorers chart. Inter are one point behind leaders Juventus at the top of the table, with ten wins from their first 12 league games.

“I knew that sooner or later it would happen,” Lukaku admitted in a press conference.

“I was ready for it, because before coming here I spoke with some friends who played in Serie A and they warned me about it.

“At Cagliari it was a difficult moment. Serie A and UEFA had to do more.

“UEFA must act. We can promote a ‘No To Racism’ campaign, but if we do nothing to counter this phenomenon, it makes no sense.”

Lukaku did nevertheless stress that he was happy in his new surroundings, having escaped an unhappy time at former club United. But despite his good form, he knows he is still not the finished article as a player.

“I’m having fun in Italy,” he added. “People on the street are very kind to me and my family likes it here too. I want to concentrate on this.

“When I’m not playing well, I want [Conte] to tell me about it. I’m 26, I know I can improve.”

Lukaku is currently on international duty with Belgium, as Roberto Martinez’ side round off their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with fixtures away to Russia and at home to Cyprus.

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Belgium have already confirmed their qualification for next summer’s tournament, though they will want to maintain their 100 per cent record and hold onto top spot in the group, with Russia three points behind them going into the final fixtures.

Lukaku had been a slight doubt for the Russia game, but he says he is raring to go ahead of Saturday’s match.

“I’m fine now,” he said.

“I got a knock against Dortmund a few weeks ago, but now it’s much better. If Martinez will let me play in the game, I will be happy to give my contribution.

“Tomorrow will not be easy, but we won’t be lacking motivation. We want to get a positive result.”

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