Today, Belgium defeated Panama, 3-0, in the 2018 FIFA World Cup with the help of star Romelu Lukaku, a 25-year-old striker signed to Manchester United who holds the record for the most goals scored for the Belgian National Team. He is one of just five players to have ever scored 50 goals in the Premier League before the age of 23 and, in the match against Panama, the Antwerp native scored twice.
In a post recently published on The Players Tribune, Lukaku reveals that his greatest motivation is his poor upbringing and explains how he has allowed his challenges to push him forward rather than hold him back.
Lukaku shares how his family slept on the floor and went without electricity for weeks. His mother mixed milk with water in order to make their meals of bread and milk last longer. "We were broke. Not just poor, but broke," he writes. "I knew we were struggling. But when she was mixing in water with the milk, I realized it was over, you know what I mean? This was our life."
That realization made him determined to build a better life for himself and his family. "I didn't say a word. I didn't want her to stress. I just ate my lunch. But I swear to God, I made a promise to myself that day. It was like somebody snapped their fingers and woke me up. I knew exactly what I had to do, and what I was going to do," writes Lukaku. "I couldn't see my mother living like that. Nah, nah, nah. I couldn't have that."