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R. Lukaku

‘Lukaku is like Shaq, a force of nature!’ – Inter striker lauded by Barella

11:37 GMT 12/01/2021
Romelu Lukaku Shaquille O'Neal
The Nerazzurri midfielder admits that the Belgium international is almost impossible to stop, with his club colleagues finding that out in training

Romelu Lukaku boasts the “physical power” of NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, says Inter midfielder Nicolo Barella, with the Belgian striker considered to be “a force of nature”.

The 27-year-old has been a revelation since moving to San Siro in the summer of 2019.

Lukaku hit 34 goals through his debut campaign in Milan and has added a further 16 efforts to his tally this term.

He has become a talismanic presence for Antonio Conte’s Serie A title hopefuls, with few opponents able to contain the very obvious threat he poses.

Barella is not surprised to see rivals struggling on that score, with Lukaku’s team-mates finding out in training how difficult he can be to stop.

Drawing comparisons between the former Manchester United forward and an ex-LA Lakers and Miami Heat star, Barella told DAZN: “Lukaku and Shaquille O’Neal make physical power their greatest strength.

“But Romelu is also so much more. Even in training, we need two or three players to stop him. He’s a force of nature.”

Lukaku has helped to fire Inter to within three points of arch-rivals AC Milan this season in an ongoing battle for domestic supremacy in Italy, with former Rossoneri boss Fabio Capello of the opinion that Conte’s men are favourites to claim the crown.

He has told Radio Anch’io Lo Sport: “Juventus are coming back, they are finding an identity and there are fewer problems with their game than in the first part of the season.

“It seems to me that the team has understood what Andrea Pirlo wants.

“He achieved a result practically without Cristiano Ronaldo because he was peripheral against Sassuolo.

“Juventus have never been in the running for the title this season but they could decide things with their game in hand with Napoli and the direct clash with Inter, who I chose as my favourite for the title.

“For me the Nerazzurri are the team with the deepest squad and number of players to be competitive in all matches.

“Plus, Inter do not have to play in the European competitions, therefore they can be fresh at all times.”