Comparing Romelu Lukaku and Didier Drogba at 19 - Can the Belgian become a Chelsea legend?

The teenage striker has recently commented on his desire to become a legend at Chelsea. By comparing his achievements so far with that of the most recent member of the Chelsea legend club at his age can he do it?

Romelu Lukaku has been speaking about his future at Chelsea this week. The Belgian teenager has been on loan at West Brom this season and some have questioned whether that move could become permanent in the summer. However Lukaku has rubbished those rumours, even if West Brom would love to bring the in-form striker to The Hawthorns on a permanent basis. However it seems they may have to settle for another loan-deal based on his most recent comments:

"My aim is to play at the Bridge and to be a legend over there in the future. That is the dream. That's what I signed for Chelsea for. But the time is going so really I need to keep playing. And hopefully in the next few years become one of the key elements at the Bridge... now it is up to me to show I can go over there and play and do the same as he does now."

Indeed when Lukaku first signed for Chelsea he was immediately dubbed ‘the next Didier Drogba’ due to their similar powerful striking attributes. Drogba indeed is a Chelsea legend; cementing his place in Stamford Bridge folklore with a series of match-winning performances in major cup finals. The confirmation of his legendary status came with the Champions League final victory in Munich last season.

So if Lukaku was to use Drogba as a barometer for his potential legendary status how would he compare?

At 19 Lukaku has already caused quite a stir while the same cannot be said about Didier Drogba. He was struggling with never having played in a full-time footballing academy as well as a string of injury problems in his late teens. It took him to the age of 21 to make his first team debut for Ligue 2 outfit Le Mans but after one season lost his place in the side to future Rangers and Hull City striker Daniel Cousin.

However his form improved but it was not until the 2002-03 season where he teamed up with future Chelsea team-mate Florent Malouda to score 17 goals in 34 appearances that he really started to make a name for himself. By this time the Ivorian was in his mid-20’s so in that respect you have to feel Lukaku has a jump on his somewhat forced upon mentor.

Lukaku has had a better footballing upbringing but that privilege may not necessary make him a more outstanding player than Drogba. While Lukaku was training in the state-of-the-art football academy at Anderlecht from the age of 13 Drogba was playing in car-parks with friends and constantly moving backward and forward from his adopted France and his homeland Ivory Coast. In terms of his footballing education that was served at lowly semi-pro club Levallois until the age of 18.

But that sort of upbringing seemed to give Drogba the grit and determination to be a winner; psychological skillsets that cannot be measured by equipment or performance models. By looking at the comparison between the two it is clear that Lukaku certainly has the ability to be as good a player as Drogba but to become a ‘legend’ takes something more. Only time will tell if Lukaku has that.

Can Lukaku become a legend like Drogba at Chelsea?

image: © Crystian Cruz

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