It made perfect sense that Maserati had chosen Romelu Lukaku to advertise their new Levante Trofeo.
The concept was to show off a potent mix of power and elegance and the advert worked. Dressed in Versace, the Belgian forward drives around the streets of Milan looking extremely dapper whilst testing the new machine. He tells the camera ‘Talent is the engine and attitude is the accelerator, I may have more in common with Maserati than you think’.
So many times this season the forward’s power made him look like a force of nature and he will be ready to show this again in the Derby Della Madonnina on Sunday.
Marco Parolo needed fuel injection to keep up in Inter’s 3-1 win over Lazio last week-end. Lukaku made the footballing world gasp as his incredible burst of speed embarrassed the 36-year-old, he was outstripped and could do nothing as the Belgian played all across for Lautaro Martinez to tap in.
It was perhaps apt, that in the week where former Inter great Adriano had his birthday, that Lukaku emulated him in pace power and technique. “Romelu works so hard for the team and sometimes I have to start the runs early to keep up with him on those counter-attacks,”Martinez told Sky Sport Italia after the game.
The Argentine was not the only one to heap praise on him after the game. Former legend Jurgen Klinsmann claimed in the week that, Lukaku was one of the best five forwards in the world and should be proud.
His two goals and an assist in his last game typified the way he is developing in Milan. The final goal meant he reached 300 career goals and what is more he has done this at a younger age than Zlatan Ibrahimović, Robert Lewandowski and Luis Suarez.
He is certainly starting to get the recognition he deserves but he is still keeping his humble manner, as Martinez pointed out, he gives a lot for the team and his game simply does not just focus on goals.
Going into the Derby Della Madonnina, he is in rich form. He scored in the Coppa Italia against Milan, decimated Benevento getting a brace and was a force of nature against Lazio.
Perhaps, against Fiorentina and Juventus he was not at his scintillating best, but he also was not bad.
This season his statistics are up there, no argument. In Serie A, he has started 18 times (three as sub) and scored 16 goals with four assists. In the Champions League, he has played five games and scored four goals and for Belgium, he has played five, scored five and registered an assist.
As the Derby Della Madonnina approaches, it has an unusual backdrop as the Milan teams sit on top of the table with the Nerazzurri a point ahead of their neighbours.
It has a nostalgic feel to it and Lukaku has played a part in that too. His confrontation with Zlatan Ibrahimović was seen as a clash of titans, it gives the game even more rivalry.
There is even a mural that has appeared outside of San Siro with the tag line ‘head to head, heart to heart’ and pictures the moment they clashed. Lukaku did lose his head in that game but composed himself and netted a penalty in the second half, Zlatan in turn saw red.
Whilst there will be much talk of this incident pre-game, perhaps the main talking point should be just how important this game is.
Juventus are eight points behind Inter (albeit with a game in hand) they lost last weekend as did Milan (to Spezia) and the Nerazzurri are the inform team. The thought of Lukaku and Martinez counter attacking as they did against Lazio will give Milan food for thought and if Inter win this they have to be considered favourites for the Scudetto.
If Inter are to motor towards the title then Lukaku will be the man providing the power in the machine.
His mental strength and ambition certainly seems to be rubbing off on his team mates and his unselfish nature provides a new template of how a center forward can operate by both being clinical and yet giving so much for others.
He is not perfect, that is for sure, but there are few players who work harder than he does at always improving himself. At the moment, that is a powerful, elegant and dynamic creation, just like a Maserati.