LEICESTER, United Kingdom – A star soccer player in England is considering his legal options after a previous employer allegedly accused him of using “voodoo” in his decision to leave his team.
Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku, a practicing Catholic, left the Liverpool-based Premier League team Everton last year, and now plays for Manchester United.
The BBC reported Everton’s owner, Farhad Moshiri told club shareholders Lukaku received a “voodoo message” while on a “pilgrimage to Africa.”
Moshiri claimed the message told Lukaku to go to the London-based team Chelsea, where the player began his English career before moving to Everton.
Lukaku played for four seasons at Everton, and scored 87 goals for the team. He moved to Manchester United over the summer in a deal worth over $100 million, even though Everton offered him a new contract.
“Romelu’s decision had nothing to do with voodoo,” Lukaku’s representative told the BBC.
“He distances himself from these beliefs and this statement and will now see what judicial steps can be taken in relation to them,” the representative said.
“Romelu is very Catholic and voodoo is not part of his life or his beliefs,” he continued. “He simply had no faith in Everton and no confidence in Mr. Moshiri’s project. That is why he did not want to sign on any condition.”
Manchester United is the most successful team in English soccer, winning 20 league titles and the European championship three times. This year, it is competing in the UEFA Champions League, the top-level European competition; Everton competed in the second-tier Europa League, and has already been knocked out.
“He [Lukaku] wanted to make the next step in his career and wanted the security to be able to leave,” the representative told the BBC.
Lukaku, 24, is often seen making the sign of the cross before games, and after he scores a goal. In 2014, he posted a photo on social media of his pilgrimage to Lourdes.
Last summer, the player was involved in another controversy over his religion, when several British tabloids reported he couldn’t be photographed with alcohol, due to his “Muslim faith.”
His representatives expressed bewilderment over the stories, stating, “He reads his Bible every night.”