Romelu Lukaku has offered a direct apology to Chelsea supporters in a bid to build bridges after his controversial interview revealing unhappiness at Stamford Bridge.
The club-record signing has already said sorry internally at Chelsea and returned to training, but has now moved to address Blues fans personally.
The Belgium striker fell in hot water with Chelsea after telling Sky Sport Italy last week of his dissatisfaction at the club, just months after his £98million summer transfer from Inter Milan.
Lukaku was omitted from Sunday’s 2-2 Premier League draw with Liverpool, but is now in contention to feature in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.
“To the fans I’m sorry for the upset that I’ve caused,” Lukaku told Chelsea’s official club website.
“You guys know the connection I have with this club since my teenage years, so I totally understand you guys being upset.
“Obviously it’s up to me now to restore your trust, and I’ll do my best every day to show commitment on the training ground and in games to make sure we win games.
“And also to the manager, my team-mates and the board, I apologise, because I think it was not the right moment, also.
“And I want to move forward from this and make sure that we start winning football games and make sure that I start performing for the team in the best manner.”
Chelsea’s board and senior players backed manager Thomas Tuchel in his decision to drop Lukaku for the draw with Liverpool, leaving the German fully vindicated.
Lukaku’s fulsome apologies have now paved the way for a full return to first-team action.
Former Manchester United and Everton player Lukaku insisted his Sky Sport Italy interview was only ever designed as a respectful goodbye to Inter fans – but that he now understands the damage caused by his comments.
“I think I should have been much clearer in my message to be honest,” said Lukaku.
“Because the interview was about saying goodbye to the Inter fans, it was not about trying to disrespect the (Chelsea) fans, the football club, the owner, my team-mates, the technical staff.
“Because they made a lot of efforts for me to come back here and I wanted to come back here. I was on a mission to come back since I left, so I totally understand the frustrations of the fans.
“But now it’s on me to make sure my commitment is at 100 per cent and I will do that in every game.
“My club was Chelsea, everybody knows that from being 10 or 11 years old I said I wanted to play for Chelsea. There were clearly images when I came on my school trip that I said I wanted to play for Chelsea.
“So for me I came here when I was 18 it didn’t go so well. Now I’m back at 28 in the prime years of my career – I can’t really mess this up.
“At the end of the day, I always said I wanted to come here to be successful, that’s why I signed a five-year deal. Chelsea’s a club that’s equal to success.
“All the players that come here are winning and I have a special passion for this club.
“And I want to achieve that also with this football club, I want to win here for many years, that’s why I signed a five-year deal.
“And I want to make sure that I show my commitment in training every day and also the games for this football club.”