Romelu Lukaku is outshining legends Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo in Italy, establishing himself as one of the finest strikers in Europe this season.
In what has been an incredible Serie A campaign, Inter are in control of a fascinating title race thanks to Lukaku’s 17 goals, which is more than anyone else in the division.
His latest strike was an outstanding solo effort in a 3-0 victory over arch rivals Milan on Sunday, showcasing all of the Belgian’s devastating talent, which was only seen in glimpses at Chelsea and Manchester United.
The 27-year-old is part of the Premier League’s 100 club, thanks largely to successful spells at West Brom and Everton, but Chelsea and United might be questioning whether they ought to have been more patient with Lukaku.
Conte, his manager at Inter, famously tried to sign Lukaku while he was Chelsea boss in 2017, but the club lost out to United and signed Alvaro Morata instead.
Having finally got his man, Lukaku is showing why Conte was so desperate to team up with him.
And according to talkSPORT’s European football expert Andy Brassell, the Belgian is benefiting from that extra love he didn’t get at Chelsea or United, as well as some lifestyle changes to make him more explosive.
Brassell told talkSPORT: “I think it all starts with Antonio Conte, a coach that has never been easy on him, but believes in him and has absolutely loved him since day one.
“He moved heaven and earth to get him to come to Inter and I think that made a huge difference straight away – because a lot of the football Inter play under Conte is reactive football.
“What that means for Lukaku is he has to do a lot of stuff that he’s not that keen on. Sometimes he has to play with his back to goal, sometimes he has to run the channels…
“But I think he gets enough of what he wants as well – running onto the ball, using that pace, using his strength, which is something else.
“We know he’s changed his diet, he’s not spending so much time in the gym, so he’s more explosive pace-wise.
“I think the love that he gets from Conte is so important and it’s really given him a platform to work.
“You have to look at the partnership with Lautaro Martinez, which is absolutely fantastic, they create for each other.
“He’s encouraged Lukaku to widen his pallet and he always shows up for these big games now.”