Romelu Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo have touched gloves for a third successive season as two of the world’s heavyweight strikers look set to go the distance in pursuit of the Golden Boot.
The Belgian talisman taped his knuckles, pulled on the gloves and entered the ring with the five-time undisputed champion of the world for the first time in 2019, with their eyes fixated on lifting the Scudetto.
That set in motion an enthralling trilogy that will now be settled in England.
Lukaku was mentored by former Chelsea boss, Antonio Conte, in the blue corner, while Ronaldo was coached by Maurizio Sarri and Andrea Pirlo in the red – or should that be Bianconeri? – corner.
Manchester United’s number seven took the first fight via a unanimous decision as the Old Lady won a ninth successive Serie A title in 2019/20, while also beating Lukaku in the goal-scoring charts.
However, after conceding a handful of blows and eight goals on the judges’ scorecards, Chelsea’s number nine didn’t throw in the towel and came out swinging, fired up for the next encounter in 2020/21.
Lukaku spent the first bout acclimatising to the occasion but responded with a technical knockout of his own in the second, snatching the Serie A title despite trailing by five goals on the cards.
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A decider was needed and so was a stage. The pair booked in a deciding bout in the Premier League to complete the trilogy.
Lukaku, now trained by Thomas Tuchel, won the opening round by netting on his second Chelsea debut versus Arsenal at the Emirates, before Ronaldo, seconded by Ole Gunnar Solskjær, beat the 28-year-old to the punch by netting twice against Newcastle United, sending fans from across the world into pandemonium.
Chelsea’s talisman knew the ropes and a quick reply was needed. Lukaku dealt a one-two of his own against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge with a pair of devastating blows.
Lukaku leads by three goals to the Portuguese icon’s two as the former looks to walk away victorious once and for all.
The pair seem set to ignite one of Europe’s most keenly contested title races, primed for the dogged rounds to come.
However, the coaches in either corner will be key in determining whether their man can land the decisive blow. Tuchel’s expertise outside of the ring will be tested against Solskjær’s infamous killer instinct inside the ropes.
Who will come out on top – Lukaku or Ronaldo? Let us know who you think will score more goals this season in the comments below. Follow our CareFreeChelsea trends writer Jake on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.