While the Belgian striker deals with an injury-ridden hamstring, he has also found himself at the receiving end of racist slurs and discriminatory tactics for the nth time in his career.
Now, Lukaku has always been vociferous in his cavil against racism in the sport.
In fact, in 2019, when the Belgian national, ironically playing for his current club, Inter Milan, launched a campaign of sorts against racism after mistaking chants in Cagliari to be racist in nature.
Now, it seems that Lukaku is back at the forefront of another controversy with racism as its theme.
While Lukaku found himself on the starting 11 team sheet, he was ineffective in the final third, against a team that has gone unbeaten in the season until their game against Inter, and was finally substituted in the 64th minute.
As Inter managed to clinch a narrow victory off Edin Dzeko’s well-judged header into the back of the net, the 30-year-old on-loan striker from Stamford Bridge had to battle allegedly racist chants from the Napoli stands.
Now, Serie A has yet to sanction the despicable act in question, which involved fans screaming “Kim Kim Kim Kim” in the general direction of Romelu Lukaku in unison but has presently decided to postpone that decision until they can ascertain whether or not the act was, in fact, despicable.
A short video from the Napoli stands has found its way into the media and it clearly depicts the entire Partenopei arena chanting the word “Kim” repeatedly.
However, there might be an explanation for the chant that is not quite as gory as outright racism.
Italian journalist Mirko Calemme tweeted an explanation for the chants saying that they have been a staple chant for Napoli ultras throughout the season and the chants are directed at their own centre-back, Kim Min-jae, to hype him up in high-pressure situations.
Calemme also went on to criticise the authorities for their utter lack of awareness of their own fanbase and chants but fortified his opinion that the chants were anything, but racist slurs aimed at Lukaku.
If Serie A reaches the ultimate conclusion that the chants were not, in fact, racist, Romelu Lukaku will have to walk away from the game with the only sordid memory of being mocked by the Napoli bench for a comical scene resulting from a pathetic first touch.
However, fortunately for the Belgian, Calemme’s explanation of the chant does, on the face of it, make sense and given the charged atmosphere in Inter vs. Napoli games, it is entirely possible that this is simply a case where Lukaku mistook an innocent chant to be a racist slur.
That said, racism is still a major debacle in the development of perhaps the greatest sport in the world, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe, Marcus Rashford, and in fact, on multiple occasions, Romelu Lukaku himself, having been subjected to racist slurs by their own fans and as such, authorities in the footballing community will be expected to amplify the penal actions they prescribe for such scenarios.