Inter striker Romelu Lukaku has acknowledged the fact that "racism still exists all over Europe", but says Italy is the best country he's ever played in.
Lukaku completed a £74 million ($94m) move to San Siro from Manchester United in the summer of 2019, calling time on a frustrating two-year spell at Old Trafford.
The Belgium international, who began his career at Anderlecht, also played for Chelsea, West Brom and Everton during his ten-year stay in the Premier League, but decided to embark on a new chapter in Italy after being deemed surplus to requirements by the Red Devils.
Lukaku has since scored 34 goals in 51 appearances across all competitions for Inter, helping them re-emerge as a major force on both domestic and European stages.
The only sour note of the 27-year-old's time in Milan to date came last September when he was subjected to monkey chants by a section of Cagliari supporters during a 2-1 victory for Inter at Sardegna Arena.
The Nerazzurri forward opened up on the incident a couple of months later, telling the New York Times: "I've been confronted by it many times in life. You build a type of shell. I take my anger out on the field."
Football has taken a united stand against racism in recent months amid the Black Lives Matter protests which have swept the globe, and although Lukaku does not believe the issue has been solved, he does feel that positive progress has been made.
Asked to address his past experiences dealing with racism, the ex-United star told Gazzetta Dello Sport: “It still exists, all over Europe. And it’s absurd. In Italy, it happened to me once, I reacted, but it never happened again.
"I don’t want to confuse three or 300 who whistle with thousands of civil citizens. I’m confident that the absurdity of racism is consigned to the past.”
Lukaku added on how much he is enjoying life in Italy on and off the pitch: “It’s the best country I have ever been in. The Italians welcomed me with open arms and I’m grateful to everyone.
“Even the football has helped me improve a lot. I want to develop and do more and more for the team.”
The Belgian frontman will be back in contention for a place in Antonio Conte's line up when Inter open their latest Serie A campaign with a home fixture against Fiorentina on Saturday.