Romelu Lukaku has accused Manchester United of making him a scapegoat for their struggles and that he concluded he was not wanted and should leave.
The striker, who joined Internazionale for a fee that could reach £74m, also said the club failed to “protect” him and added that the club was happy to place him alongside Paul Pogba and Alexis Sánchez in the firing line during United’s difficult periods.
Lukaku, speaking on the NBA player Josh Hart’s LightHarted podcast in an interview recorded before his United exit but released on Wednesday, appears to believe that leaks about his future had come from within the club.
“A lot of stuff has been said where I didn’t feel protected,” he said. “I felt like a lot of rumours, ‘Rom going there’, ‘They don’t want Rom’, and nobody came out to shut it down.
“It was for a good three, four weeks. I’m waiting for someone to come out and shut it down. It didn’t happen.
“I had my conversation, told them it was better to go our separate ways. If you don’t want to protect somebody, all these rumours come out. I just wanted you to say: ‘Rom is going to fight for his place,’ but it never happened for four, five months.
“If you’re happy, you find a way. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the bench or starting but nobody told me that was the situation, so I thought for two, three weeks to analyse, see all this sh*t coming out in the media. Who leaks it? Not me. Not my agent. I see it on my phone come out of nowhere.
“I told them it’s not good for me to be at a place where I’m not wanted. We’re not stupid. They consider us dumb but we are not dumb. We know who is doing leaks and stuff. I told them, you can’t be working like this, it’s better for me to go now.”
Lukaku scored 42 goals in 96 games for United but believes he was singled out for criticism when results were poor. “They have to find somebody [to blame],” he said. “It is Pogba, it is me or it is Alexis. It’s the three of us all the time. For me, I just see it in many ways.”
He said his performances for Belgium show the problems do not lie with him. “When I go and play for my country, we play the style of play that we want to play probably with Man United and I do well over there.