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Lukaku didn’t lay ‘a finger’ on Chelsea’s Champions League trophy and still resents Villas-Boas

14:32 BST 21/05/2020
HD Romelu Lukaku Chelsea
The Belgian was taken to Stamford Bridge during the reign of the Portuguese coach, but was left out of what would become a successful European squad

Romelu Lukaku admits to having not laid “a finger” on the Champions League trophy when Chelsea conquered Europe in 2012, with the Belgian still resenting Andre Villas-Boas for leaving him out of a successful squad.

The potential of a powerful Belgian striker was bought into by the Blues following the appointment of the Portuguese coach who was intended to follow in the footsteps of Jose Mourinho. However Villas-Boas would last only a matter of months at Stamford Bridge, with Roberto Di Matteo eventually replacing him on an initial interim basis.

Chelsea went on to claim a maiden continental crown under the Italian tactician who had become a firm fan favourite in his playing days.

Lukaku, who was just a teenager and made only 12 appearances in his debut campaign, was invited to travel with the squad that lifted the most prestigious of prizes in Munich.

He had, however, been overlooked for that competition by Villas-Boas and took little joy from the celebrations which followed a thrilling penalty shoot-out victory over Bayern.

Reflecting on that time, Lukaku told HLN: “Di Matteo told me that I would stay with the group until after the final. He thought everyone should come along, including the ones who were suspended and the few boys who were not in the Champions League squad. I am also grateful to him for that.”

He added: “This win is one of the things I've always dreamed about. You want to celebrate something like that with the team at that time. That is nice in itself at the age of 19. I am happy for the whole club, but there is one man who took a lot from me: the previous trainer (Villas-Boas). I will never forgive him for that.”

On getting close to European football’s most-coveted trophy, Lukaku said: “I didn't touch it with a finger. Because I didn't win this trophy myself. 

“This has been the case since I was 11: if I have not contributed anything, it is not my trophy. Only if you have contributed to a cup or a title yourself, you can also show it off.”

The European snub is not the only issue that Lukaku has with Villas-Boas, with the current Marseille boss also considered to have done his development few favours by constantly tinkering with his position.

The forward, who has gone on to star for West Brom, Everton, Manchester United and Inter, said: “Once I had to play in the front left, another time in the front right. You don't develop that way. 

“Then at some point you have to think about yourself. So I told the club what I thought of it. I know Villas-Boas was also under pressure, but that's why he didn't have to treat me like that. 

“Di Matteo approached me completely differently, he immediately involved me in everything. That should have been much earlier. Really, I never forgave the previous coach.”