MILAN (AP) — Two Belgian strikers are likely to steal the spotlight when the Italian league kicks off on Saturday.
While Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku has already shown what he can do in Serie A, his compatriot Charles De Ketelaere remains an unknown with city rivals AC Milan.
There are so many doubts since he was signed by Milan this month that the talented player has received countless questions about how to pronounce his name.
Stadium presenters will have to learn this quickly as Milan kick off their title defense against Udinese on Saturday with a sold-out crowd at the San Siro.
De Ketelaere played his first 15 minutes for Milan in the friendly against Vincenza – a day after his introduction – and twice came close to scoring after starting as a substitute in the 6-1 win.
The following day, the 21-year-old scored a hat-trick in the first 25 minutes as Milan beat Pergolettese 7-1 in the final pre-season game at home.
“De Keteraere attracts attention, leaves you speechless with his technical ability, flexibility and elegance when playing,” Belgium coach Robert Martinez told Gazetta dello Sport in an interview. “He has the coordination, the last pass ability and the shot on goal that very few have at his age in Europe.”
In contrast, Lukaku has already made his mark on Inter’s history with 47 goals in 72 games in two seasons in Serie A with the Nerazzurri.
His formidable partnership with Lautaro Martínez – who was dubbed LuLa by the Italian press – helped Inter win the league in 2021 for the first time in 11 years, but he left the team shortly after to sign with Chelsea.
“At Inter, Lukaku returns home,” said Lautaro Martínez. “I have known Romelu for years, I am not surprised by his choice and his determination to return no matter the cost. It is what he wanted.”
While the Milan teams will play on Saturday. Jose Mourinho’s Roma start the campaign on Sunday in Salernitana, Juventus and Napoli start on Monday against Sassuolo and Hellas Verona, respectively.