(Reuters) - Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku was named the Europa League player of the season for 2019-20 after the Belgian forward led the Italian side to the final with goals in every knockout round.
Lukaku, who revived his career in Italy with 34 goals in all competitions in his first season at the club, scored seven times in the Europa League in six matches after Inter dropped down from the Champions League into the second-tier competition.
Inter lost the final 3-2 to Sevilla in August but the 27-year-old forward had done enough to sway the vote in his favour with 270 points, beating Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes (128) and Sevilla’s Ever Banega (118) to claim the prize.
“First of all, I would like to congratulate Sevilla personally for having won the final tournament,” Lukaku said in a pre-recorded message after the announcement was made during the Europa League draw.
“I want to thank my family and my agents for their support. I also want to thank my coach and the club staff, the board, and the president for their trust and for helping me throughout this season.
“Most importantly, I want to thank my team mates, who have been great with me from the first day I joined. They’ve been like brothers to me... Every day I come to training, I come with a smile... they make me want to work harder.”
The vote was made by a jury comprised of coaches from the 48 clubs that participated in the group stages and 55 journalists.
Inter are back in the Champions League again this season, where they were drawn in Group B alongside 13-times champions Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Moenchengladbach.