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Romelu Lukaku has revealed he turned down to join Juventus during the summer transfer window.
Chelsea were strongly linked with a move for the striker, who netted 25 times for Everton last season, while Juventus were also reported to be in the running to sign the Belgium international.
Despite expressing a desire to play Champions League football, Lukaku remains an Everton player and the 23-year-old claims he rejected a move to Italy because it was 'too early' for him to make the switch to Serie A.
"It stings a little [not being in European competition], but I'm someone who believes that everything happens for a reason," Lukaku told Het Nieuwsblad.
"Otherwise I would have gone to Juventus instead of staying at Everton. But I opted for Everton because it was too early for Italy and I have not done badly here.”
Lukaku joined the Toffees from Chelsea, initially on loan, in 2013 before making it a permanent arrangement ahead of the 2014-15 season.
He had intimated that he would leave Goodison Park in the summer but Everton were reluctant to part company with the striker.
"Now we have a new coach and it is completely different than with Mr [Roberto] Martinez, but I think we can make progress under Ronald Koeman. It may be the last step and then look further," Lukaku explained.
"I knew of the interest of a few clubs, it was quickly very clear that Everton would not let me go. It was important to me that I remained calm, and I did.
"I said to myself that I will do my best and who knows what will happen in the future."
While he is not ruling out signing a new deal with the Toffees, Lukaku admits he will only do so if he feels he can win things with the club.
"I tell Mino [Raiola, his agent] what I think about it [contract renewal] and eventually we have to make the decision that is best for me," Lukaku said.
"For me football is not about money – I want to win prizes. But when I get into a situation where I can leave but my team will not let me, I'm not someone who misses training, gets fined and develops a bad reputation.
"I try to remain calm and treat my club with respect. Hopefully they also treat me with respect and I can leave through the front door."
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