Romelu Lukaku has been praised for his selfless act allowing Sebastiano Esposito to take a penalty and score his first goal for Inter.
The Belgium striker was excellent in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Genoa, scoring twice and creating another as Antonio Conte’s side moved joint top of Serie A with Juventus.
And it could have been even better for Lukaku as when Inter were awarded a penalty he had the chance to complete his hat-trick – but instead passed the ball to 17-year-old Esposito, who was making his full debut.
The classy gesture paid off, as Esposito tucked away the spot-kick and celebrated his first professional goal wildly in front of his proud mother.
After the game he heaped praise on Lukaku, calling him a ‘fantastic person’.
“I found myself in sync with Romelu right away,” Esposito told Sky Sport Italia. “He’s a fantastic person who’s always looking to help me.
“He reassured me a lot by saying that everything would go all right and I’m so happy to have scored.
“It’s been a fantastic week, I can’t lie. I didn’t sleep a lot thinking about how this game would go.
“I’d like to thank the team, the coach, the club and Romelu especially for the goal.
“He’s a fantastic person and an extraordinary player. He told me to be sure of myself when I stepped up to strike the ball and to score.”
Lukaku has been a huge hit for Inter since his arrival from Manchester United in the summer, netting 14 goals in all competition. He’s regularly been praised by manager Conte, who hailed his forward as a ‘great man’ for giving up his penalty.
“Only in a positive sense, we’re talking about a team that has very high human values,” said Conte. “I always ask the players to put ‘we’ before ‘I’ and Romelu today proved to be a great man.
“He’s the penalty taker, then everything went well and we’re happy.”