There might have been a slight hesitation in his step when he came onto the pitch for warmups, but that was quickly dispelled when the Goodison Park broke out into a quick cheer for Romelu Lukaku. Despite what had come to pass this week with some comments he had made in an interview, the fans know that he was only voicing the ambition that he has always had, and in their heart of hearts the Blues have wanted for years now.
It was almost a surprise when Tom Davies stole in and centered the ball early in the game and Lukaku wasn’t even in the box and youngster Dominic Calvert-Lewin slotted home.
With not even a hint of a boo every time he touched the ball, his stature in the game rose as the minutes ticked by and he set up Enner Valencia with a peach of a return pass to make the score 2-0.
And with the clock ticking down, Rom finally got the goal he was craving, to make him Everton’s first 20-goal scorer ever in the Premier League, and first to hit that mark in the top division since Gary Lineker.
The Belgian scored again to race clear on top of the League’s Golden Boot chart, and then made a grand gesture that will not have gone unnoticed by the fans of the club - he blew kisses back at the crowd.
Right down to this, where he handed his jersey to a fan in the Gwladys Street end -
Fantastic from @RomeluLukaku9. Not the performance of a man who wants out. Give his shirt away to someone in the Gwladys too. #EFC pic.twitter.com/DRHyxB4RGW— THE BLUE ROOM (@TheBlueRoomEFC) March 18, 2017
Romelu Lukaku giving his shirt to a fan at the end. pic.twitter.com/5YITgxwhtV— GoodisonHQ (@GoodisonHQ) March 18, 2017
Whether that affection is one of farewell and impending departure, or gratitude and continuation of his Everton career, we will see sooner than later.