On the Arzachena pitch early in the morning with his team-mate: they are friends thanks to Ziyech, today in the sights of Milan … And the forward promised Inzaghi a record of goals
What does Romelu Lukaku do together with André Onana under the Sardinian sun? Why do two future mates, who have never shared half a minute on a football field, now smile happily, have lunch in an armored villa and train in the facilities of a Serie D club? Inter have recently blessed their friendship and both have bellicose proclamations for the coming season: if the Cameroonian goalkeeper has to rip Samir Handanovic’s gloves off, a rather complex undertaking, the greatest expectation is for the Belgian prodigal son.
Romelu must re-tie the thread where he left off, he must return to Inter with the same excessive power as a year ago. Indeed, the goal is to do better, to go higher, as he personally told Inzaghi. There is a declared goal and never achieved by the Belgian in his career, scoring thirty goals in the league is the new mission. Every ounce of fatigue on vacation serves to fly later.
What a pain
After taking a first bite of his old life, the Belgian on Wednesday got back on a plane at Linate and headed to Olbia and then to the Costa Smeralda. There, family and friends awaited him in an isolated villa for paparazzi in the Porto Cervo area. He also embraced the two collaborators who guide him towards his second life as an Interista: the therapist who follows him and massages him 365 days a year, but also a personal trainer wanted for the occasion. Not just anyone, but Johan Gerets, the physiotherapist from Belgium, very loyal to coach Roberto Martinez and used to working individually with many national champions, starting with Kevin de Bruyne. The novelty compared to a few days ago is that since Friday Rom has also tasted the field in Sardinia: he went to the facilities of Arzachena, owned by Gabriele Volpi, former president of La Spezia. Yesterday Onana also kept Romelu company, on vacation in the same parts and tied to him by a new, curious friendship: together they alerted the company and the municipal authorities because they will exploit the grass field also for the next few days and until the meeting on Wednesday 6. July with Inter. Onana will be regularly on that day in Appiano, while for the Belgian the wait gets longer. Only on Saturday he should set foot in Milan to have the gates of the Pinetina reopened. Where he will find a long-missed everyday life.
At the moment, however, it is only a peaceful holiday and a lot of sweat, in the very early hours of the morning among other things. Arzachena is a convenient location in terms of distance, but also for the level of the facilities: alternating between the latest generation sports center of the team, coached by Marco Nappi, former Genoa striker, this year arrived in the playoff semifinal in the fourth series, the “Biagio Pirina” stadium and the nearby “Luigi Orecchioni” pitch. The training of the two Inter fans should be repeated for the next three days, perhaps even in the afternoon, but always with a certain degree of uncertainty: the phone to announce arrival at the club rings only about ten minutes earlier.
Lukaku with Onana yesterday, however, did yet another tight session: two hours of weights, gym, running, endurance and strengthening. In the end, then, the customary passage to -160 ° to recover quickly: together with the Belgian, in fact, the cryotherapy machine has been traveling for years. In Milan, Lukaku will not find Antonio Pintus, the man who smoothed muscles that seem sculpted by Fidia at Inter, but he will have to adjust to the new staff of Inzaghi, who has shown himself to be a master in knowing how to water the talent of the strikers. As evidence, there is that Golden Boot on Ciro Immobile’s living room, one who scored 36 goals in 2019-20 under the guidance of Simone. Rom would settle for less, just touch the third decade for the first time in his career: the last year of Inter for Lukaku the goals were 24, while his record is at Everton, 25. He will also have the task of ferrying Onana into the new Inter life, given that at the moment the Cameroonian goalkeeper knows only him, even in a rather bizarre way. It happened months ago, when Onana was already Nerazzurri, and Romelu longed to return: a fellow of the Belgian at Chelsea, Hakim Ziyech, organized a video call to introduce them, since he also knew André since Ajax. “Oni, this is your future companion in Milan …”, he told him. Friendship was born there, when the Lukaku-bis seemed utopia. Now Ziyech is in the sights of Milan and the three may well see each other again soon in the same city. This time without Facetime.
(with the collaboration of Roberto Pinna)
July 3, 2022 (change July 3, 2022 | 00:18)
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