Chelsea’s club-record signing Romelu Lukaku will not want to watch back footage from Wednesday’s dismal Champions League defeat to Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge.
The reigning European champions suffered a real blow to their hopes of retaining their European crown after suffering a heavy 3-1 loss to the La Liga giants, with a second-half howler from Edouard Mendy proving costly as the Karim Benzema-inspired visitors surged to victory.
While the Senegalese stopper’s error has made the headlines, his £76.5m-rated teammate Lukaku has also been at the centre of criticism, having spurned a glorious chance to get his side back into the game – and the tie – late in the second half.
Despite seemingly having the freedom of the penalty area, the Belgian striker – who had been brought on as a second-half substitute – inexplicably glanced his header wide of the post from just six yards out.
In footage of the miss on the BT Sport website, the £325k-per-week man’s wasted chance looks worse from every angle, with his latest display perhaps epitomising what has been a deeply disappointing return to west London.
Our thoughts on Lukaku’s miss and all-round display…
That midweek performance was just the latest chapter in the underwhelming story of the former Manchester United man’s second Blues spell, with the 28-year-old having now scored just five league goals and just two Champions League goals, as per Transfermarkt, since his £97.5m summer return.
Recent reports have suggested he is unhappy in west London – amid rumours of a potential return to Inter Milan – with talkSPORT pundit Tony Cascarino stating after yesterday’s defeat that the striker looks like a “player that’s lost total belief in his game.”
His current woes and profligacy in front of goal were summed up by Karen Carney following his dreadful miss, with the former England international suggesting on BBC Radio 5 Live that “the difference is, if that’s Benzema at the opposite end, that goes in”.
At present, the one-time Everton man simply does look like a player devoid of all confidence, while Thomas Tuchel’s side appear better suited with German starlet Kai Havertz leading the line.