"What a stadium. If one day in my life I will cry, it will be the day I play here. I love Chelsea," had claimed a star-struck 16-year old youngster when he visited the Stamford Bridge as part of a school field trip in 2009. And only two years later, Romelu Lukaku was signed by Chelsea from Belgian side Anderlecht in a £17 million deal.
Born in Antwerp, Belgium, on 13 May 1993, Lukaku joined local club Rupel Boom at the age of five, where he spent four years, before being signed up by top-flight club Lierse's academy, where he massacred 68 goals in 121 appearances for various youth teams between 2004 and 2006.
In 2006, Lukaku was snapped up by Belgian giants Anderlecht, following Lierse's relegation to the second division, where he continued his meteoric rise in the youth ranks. At the age of 16, Lukaku signed his first pro contract with Anderlecht in 2009 and went on to make his senior debut the same year.
In his first full season in 2009/10 the striker topped the scoring charts in the Belgian Pro League, leading Anderlecht to the title and backed it up with another brilliant season, prompting Chelsea to invest in him in 2011.
For someone who grew up idolizing Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, it was a dream move, but Lukaku spent most of his first season warming the benches, before spending the subsequent seasons on loan at West Bromwich Albion and Everton, where he slowly but steadily started to establish a reputation as a rising star.
Everton signed him on a permanent deal in 2014, for a then club-record £28 million and Lukaku repaid the faith shown in him by the Toffees with some sensational displays on the field. The Belgian powerhouse scored 87 times for the Merseysiders in 166 games, well and truly sealing his status as one of the deadliest marksmen in the Premier League.
Following his exploits with Everton, Lukaku was snapped up by Manchester United in a whopping £75 million deal in the summer of 2017, where he has continued to torment defenses with his brute strength and pace.