Lukaku gives Belgium a chance at World Cup - Drogba

Romelu Lukaku Belgium 2018 World Cup
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The 25-year-old has four goals from two games in Russia and is hoping to fire them far into the tournament, and has his old team-mate's backing

Belgium have a chance of going all the way at the 2018 World Cup with the form that Romelu Lukaku has shown, according to Didier Drogba.

The Manchester United striker has scored four goals at the tournament to help Roberto Martinez's side into the last 16, where they will face Japan.

Lukaku may have been left out of their third group-stage game, against England, but Drogba has confidence in him after his 27-goal season at United and a bright start to the campaign in Russia.

"I am still challenging him, for example, to get more goals for United next season than the 27 he got last season, and to get the Golden Boot at this World Cup, too," he told BBC Sport.

"We do not always talk about work, though. I have been to see him at Belgium's training camp in Moscow and we did not speak seriously then.

"I know his team-mates Eden Hazard, Marouane Fellaini and their assistant coach Thierry Henry as well, and it was nice to speak to them all about everything and nothing.

"It was just normal chat between friends, making jokes about players and watching Croatia's win over Argentina at the same time.

"We were just having fun and it was clear that Romelu and the Belgium squad are in a good place, not just playing well and winning games.

"That is one of the reasons I am backing them to do so well at this tournament, and with Romelu in this sort of form, they definitely have a chance."

Lukaku and Drogba worked together when the former joined Chelsea from Anderlecht. Although he has since gone on to represent their domestic rivals United, Drogba is delighted to see him keep developing.

"Romelu is a player and person I have a special relationship with," he added. "I have known him for seven years, since he first came to Chelsea at the age of 18 in 2011, and we are really close.

"He is more than my very good friend, he is a kid I love and he is like my younger brother - someone I have always tried to help.

"When he was young he was very raw. Powerful and physical, yes - always.

"I always challenged him and told him that he needed to get leaner and he would be a different player - faster, and more agile at moving and turning.

"He has done that. When I look at the player he is now and the one he was seven years ago, there is a big difference. If you go through the different parts of his game, there is quality everywhere.

"As I said in my TV analysis after he scored twice against Tunisia, we have talked a lot about the runs he makes, the angles he takes and his footwork when he is through on goal.

"The short steps he took before he scored his first goal in that game were just like the ones a tennis player takes just before they hit the ball, and they give you more accuracy.

"That was great to see but, when I talked to him after Belgium had played Panama, we spoke about one of the chances he had and I told him what he could have done better in that situation than the touch he took with his left foot.

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"Romelu explained he was trying to beat the defender but I said you need to focus on your first touch so it would have been better to control with your right and then get in front of the defender that way.

"He watched it again and said: 'Oh yeah, yeah, yeah - you were right'.

"There is an example of how much he wants to learn. When you hear that, you can tell he is going to reach the top. He is not there yet, but he is almost there."