Romelu Lukaku saw Italian football fall in love with him as he won Serie A with Inter Milan last season. The striker received endless praise, and there weren’t a lot of pundits ready to question the player.

One man who has done, on repeat occasions, is West Ham legend Paolo Di Canio, who clearly isn’t a big fan of the Chelsea player, and who doesn’t feel the striker brings an awful lot to general team play.

Speaking to Italian TV at the weekend, Di Canio is quoted by Goal Italia as saying: “Lukaku is a functional player, he is like Llorente was in Conte’s Juve. Even if Lukaku is stronger than Llorente. Lukaku is functional to a certain type of game.”

The West Ham legend will have been referring to Fernando Llorente, and that annoyed his pundit colleague Beppe Bergomi, who said: “No, no, no. You can’t say Lukaku is like Llorente.”

Di Canio responded: “Here, you are acting like a fan. In communication you are taking away the real meaning of what I say. I did not say that they are the same. I said that Lukaku is stronger but there are functional players for certain types of football. With Conte, Llorente got 16 goals without penalties; Lukaku, 26 goals with 6 penalties. He was functional to win the championship.”

Lukaku’s scoring record this season with Chelsea was also brought up by Di Canio, with the Belgium international scoring five goals so far this season, but none in his past five matches.

Given how the striker has responded to criticism in the past, he’s probably waiting for the right time to snap back at Di Canio.