Soccer Star Power Index: Manchester United may be missing Lukaku after hot Inter Milan start
The Belgian has been sensational early on for Inter Milan, plus a look at Eden Hazard's lackluster start in Madrid
Welcome to the World Soccer Star Power Index -- a close look at the players who are making the most noise on the pitch. Note: Inclusion on this list isn't necessarily a good thing. It simply means that you're capturing the soccer world's attention. Also, this is not a ranking. The players listed are in no particular order as it pertains to the buzz they're generating.
Lukaku giving Inter early title aspirations
Want to endear yourself to the faithful fans of Inter Milan? Score in the Derby della Madonnina against rival AC Milan. That's just what Romelu Lukaku did this past weekend as Inter took down Milan, 2-0, to start Serie A play with four wins in four games and remain top of the table. The same striker with a questionable first touch who was pushed out at Manchester United despite a solid goal-scoring record is killing it in Italy after his summer move.
Lukaku hasn't only been consistent with scoring, his passing has been sharp, he's put in the effort defensively and, most importantly, he appears to be happy. Lukaku has three goals in four Serie A matches for Inter Milan and was on the score sheet again this weekend with a lovely header to wrap it up in the second half:
His effort has always been there, but maybe his confidence was lacking. That doesn't appear to be the case in Italy, having the full backing and confidence of manager Antonio Conte, who saw his impact in the Premier League when the Italian was coaching at Chelsea.
Perhaps United should have given him another chance. After all, they didn't even replace him with anybody. He had 27 goals in his first season for the Red Devils and just 15 last season. You can argue he's better than what United has right now.
Lukaku's talent is undeniable. As is his early impact in Northern Italy. For a team with early title aspirations and hopes advancing out of the Champions League group stage, Lukaku could end up being the key to Inter's success for many years to come.
Will the real Hazard please stand up
Stats: Three matches played, no goals, no assists and three shots on target
I'm not ready to call him a bust, because it is far too early. But you and I have as many goals and assists as Hazard does at Real Madrid through three matches. After missing the start of the season due to injury and appearing to lack match fitness, he's been awful for Los Blancos. It was a bit better in the 1-0 win at Sevilla on Sunday, but overall he's been sloppy, trying to do too much and just not creating enough chances for himself. As Who Scored points out below, Hazard lost the ball seven times in that match.
This is the guy who became a Chelsea legend with his ability to make runs by himself and score consistently, yet he hasn't been dangerous at all. It's always going to take him time to get used to a new team and a new system, but with Real Madrid having numerous players who at times can be selfish, it hurts others who are trying to start gelling.
Hazard is averaging just one shot on goal per match.
Llorente reviving his career at Napoli
Stats: Two matches played this week and three goals
Not going to lie here -- I thought his career died when he went to Swansea City in 2016. Yet he had 15 goals and earned a move to Tottenham where he had just two goals in 36 league games, but he made an impact in cups with 11 goals in two seasons.
His cup impact continued this week for his new club. The Spanish striker joined Napoli on a free transfer over the summer and is off to a fast start. He scored in the 2-0 win over Liverpool in the Champions League last week and followed that up with a start and two goals against Lecce this past weekend in Serie A. It's impressive even more so because of the style Napoli plays -- which is usually without a true striker, with smaller, quicker players leading the way. He's far from small and quick but has been in the right spot at the right time over the past two games.
At worst, he gives this team a quality option off the bench, but if his form continues, he may be able to consistently slide into the starting XI.
Juve enters the match in first place with a one-point lead
Barca hopes this is the weekend they get back into first place
Los Blancos aim to finish the weekend in fist place
The postseason for Major League Soccer will kick off on Saturday
The date for Barcelona-Real Madrid could be pushed back for December
The UEFA Champions League final is set for Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul