Romelu Lukaku has said that Zlatan Ibrahimovic “wrote his history” at Manchester United but said he would fill the Old Trafford striking role in his own way.
In an exclusive interview with Alexis Nunes, Lukaku said he was looking forward to playing for United at the International Champions Cup in the United States and revealed that he is a fan of basketball giants the LA Lakers.
The Belgium international is expected to be formally unveiled as a United player on Monday after the Red Devils and Everton agreed a £75 million deal on Friday.
He completed his medical while in Los Angeles on Saturday and is now waiting for the deal to be officially announced.
Speaking about the impact made by Ibrahimovic at Old Trafford last season, Lukaku said: “He did a wonderful job for the club.
“He was the main guy at Manchester United, and he’s a guy I really look up to and who I learn from a lot because we share the same agent. Here and there he sends a bit of advice to me, and it helps me improve.
“But I’m Romelu Lukaku — I’m not Zlatan Ibrahimovic. I will fill up the striker position in my way, but I know I have to work really hard and deliver more than I’ve done before.”
He said it was key to remember that “the team is the most important thing at Manchester United,” explaining: “The team has to win trophies, and everybody has to do their best to make sure the club gets back the trophies that they always have.”
But Lukaku added that he did not want to be drawn on his expectations for next season, saying: “I don’t want to talk too much.
“The only thing I can say is that we’re going to be there. We’re going to be there and we’re going to be performing for sure.
“I don’t want to talk too much, because I think the backlash is going to come like last season, so I’m not going to talk much.”
United take on Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City in the International Champions Cup this month and Lukaku said: “To be here with the biggest club in the world is going to be a totally different experience.
“I think it will be nice to show ourselves to the fans and show the way how we train.
“Preseason is the time where you prepare your season, so for us, it’s going to be an important time to get the principles right, to make sure the competition between us stays high, and to prepare ourselves for a long and hard season, but hopefully with glory at the end.”
And he revealed his passion for the Lakers had been sparked by watching Kobe Bryant, adding: “I’m never going to betray my team — I’m a Lakers fan ’til I die.
“It’s always Kobe Bryant for me. Besides football and all the footballing idols that I had, for me, he’s really my sporting idol.”
Lukaku said he had been frustrated by Belgium’s performance at last summer’s European Championship, when they went out in the quarterfinals to unfancied Wales.
“Obviously, we failed,” he said. “But now we have to move forward. We have a new coach and a new training staff, and it’s up to us to perform.”