Federico Pastorello, agent of Belgian superstar striker Romelu Lukaku, has revealed that he and his family were the target of harassment and threats as he negotiated the his record-breaking move to Stamford Bridge.
Lukaku, 28, sealed a £97.5 million move to from Inter Milan to West London this week in a transfer which the Chelsea faithful will hope will help to cure the Champions League winners’ goalscoring blues – but some fans of the reigning Italian champions haven’t quite been so supportive of the move.
A mural bearing the Belgian superstar’s image was defaced in Milan as talks heated up between Inter and Chelsea, with Roman Abramovich’s right-hand woman Marina Granovskaia finally clinching the deal on Thursday, just weeks after Lukaku helped Inter Milan to the Serie A crown, and ending an 11-year drought for the Italian top division title in the process.
But Pastorello appears to have a bone to pick with some sections of Inter’s support, who he says sent him a deluge of abusive and threatening messages online as the club’s star forward inched ever closer to the San Siro exit door.
“Many of those who today insult me and threaten me, thanked me wholeheartedly for bringing him to Milan,” Pastorello indicated online.
“I have always accepted – and will continue to do so – confrontation and constructive criticism: they are part of the game for those who play a role with considerable media relevance.
“What we absolutely cannot tolerate are the falsehoods, insinuations, insults and threats we have received [also against my family and my daughters], which have far exceeded the limits of civilisation, decency and tolerance.”
Lukaku was a revelation in Italian football since he joined the club two years ago after an underwhelming spell with Manchester United in the Premier League. The powerful striker scored 64 goals in just 95 appearances for the Italian side, but Inter’s less-than-healthy financial situation meant that Chelsea found themselves in a strong position to negotiate.
Pastorello added that Chelsea – the team Lukaku supported as a child – was the only club that his client would have considered leaving Inter Milan, and added that once his client decided to make the move he proceeded with “conviction and firmness”.
“Believe it or not, the supporters affection and the special bond with the city of Milan made him think about it for a long time: but then, once he made his decision, he carried on with conviction and firmness,” Pastorello said.
“The economic aspect is a detail, but it is not the main factor that determines our choices and those of our clients.”
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And to the agitators who have taken to social media with abusive messages towards Pastorello and his family, the agent had just one question.
“I conclude my thought with a reflection on that day two years ago when Romelu Lukaku signed for Internazionale,” he wrote.
“If they had told you: ‘Romelu, after scoring more than 60 goals in two seasons, bringing the Club back to the top with his teammates, playing in the Europa League final and winning the Italian league title that has been missing since 2010, being named MVP of the Europa League and Serie A, will leave the Nerazzurri bringing into the Club finances a record sum for the Italian football market’ what would you have done? Would you have signed up for it straight away or not?”
It is certainly difficult to argue otherwise.