Is it true that Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku starred in a documentary tv series about his schooldays?
Yes, it is. The prodigious young Belgian striker was the subject of an acclaimed documentary series called De School Van Lukaku (Lukaku’s School) shown on the Dutch-speaking Eén network. The reality show followed the teenage Lukaku and his classmates during the course of a year at the Saint-Guidon Institute, a multi-cultural school in Brussels, where the footballer was based while with the Anderlecht youth team.
The show was hailed as a groundbreaking documentary.
“Rarely if ever has a school as unlimited admission given to every aspect of school life record. The School of Lukaku is an authentic and exciting series about young people growing up in the problem areas of a metropolis,” one Belgian tv website declared. It featured pupils talking “openly and honestly about friendship, love, sexuality, faith and religion, crime and safety and their future”.
Lukaku was the ubdoubted star of the series, which charted the most significant year in his life. It culminated in the events around his 16th birthday when he signed professional terms for Anderlecht, won the Belgian league title as his side’s top scorer and was drafted into the Belgian national team.
The most striking moment in the series, however, came when the school made a field trip to London and visited Chelsea’s ground Stamford Bridge. Lukaku gasped when he saw the pitch and says to camera: “Give me a ball and I will play here for five hours, What a stadium. If one day in my life I will cry, it will be the day I play here. I love Chelsea.”
His teacher tries to bring him back down to earth. “You can dream on later,” says the teacher. Presciently, however, Lukaku replies: “This is not dreaming. I will do it. One day I will play here.”
Two years later, he signed for Chelsea in a deal that seemed set to establish him as a new superstar of European football.