‘Heart, soul, grit’ – Inter ultras fire Lukaku warning and demand he earns their respect again after ‘betrayal’

The fans of the Serie A side said a man they once regarded as a ‘king’ is now only ‘one of many’ – but they will give him a second chance.

A leading Inter fan group say they have still not forgiven Romelu Lukaku for his “betrayal” of the club as his return from Chelsea on loan nears.

Lukaku left Inter last summer in a £100 million deal having fired the club to the Serie A title, with many of the club’s ultras angered by the manner of his departure.

However his move to the Premier League did not work out, and Lukaku is set to head back to Italy for the 2022-23 campaign.

While it would be a stretch to say Lukaku is being welcomed back to Milan with open arms, the Curva Nord Milano group say they are willing to give the Belgian a second chance.

A statement posted on Instagram read: “The Curva Nord supports Inter and will not make any opposition to the player [Lukaku].

“No one should go to greet him with scarves or banners from the Curva; everything that in the future will eventually be done towards him will have to be earned on the field with humility and sweat.

“He was supported and treated like a King, now he is one like many. We will never cheer against Lukaku if he wears the Inter shirt again.

“We took note of Lukaku’s betrayal and we were very upset. To a player these things can be forgiven over time, but they remain.”

Chelsea’s club-record signing will leave for just an €8m (£7m/$8m) loan fee with the potential to earn more through performance-related add-ons.

The Blues were keen to get his club-high £325,000-a-week wages off their books after a breakdown in the relationship between the striker and manager Thomas Tuchel.

This is despite Chelsea effectively paying Lukaku to play for Inter with yearly installments on his transfer set at €23m (£20m/$24m).