Written by Staff Writer, CNN
The minute Romelu Lukaku’s plane touched down in Lausanne to perform a press conference ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup, the Belgian was ready to reveal an idea he had put into motion that has drawn support from some of the world’s top sports executives and social media companies.
It came after he had witnessed what he believed to be injustice in the social media space. As a result, he was unable to share the moments in his life that he most valued, because they weren’t open to his millions of Twitter followers.
“Before I met (with Facebook CEO) Mark Zuckerberg, I spoke to (Zuckerberg’s deputy) Sheryl Sandberg, the same thing (appeal) to her,” he said. “That’s why I’m talking to the guys like Instagram and Twitter.”
So, why the obsession with social media? After all, as one of the most marketable athletes on the planet, the 27-year-old has diverse marketing partners and the world’s most lucrative annual commercial deal, with Manchester United.
But Lukaku says his motivation comes from a desire to improve his own life and the lives of those around him.
He said he used to be shy, yet he no longer is now.
“For me, as a person, I wanted to open up my life. I was always so shy that I never used to open my door to people who I wasn’t close to,” he said. “But I realized I want to share with people in the best way that I can, to my fans.
“I think when you share, you have a lot of people help you through this journey. It makes me grow up a lot.”
Lukaku also used his presence at FIFA’s headquarters to speak out about global cybersecurity, a subject that has come to the fore with recent high-profile attacks, such as the Equifax hacking in September 2017, or the Target breach of 2013.
Lukaku said a failure to read, or simply not understanding, what is online today has resulted in a lack of security, which is a tragedy for all of society.
“Protecting online platforms and us is a huge, huge challenge for everyone around the world,” he said. “It’s everything — a lack of information.
“All this is easy to do by just downloading an app. But it’s easy to push fake stuff on your phone and it’s a very sensitive area.”