Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku were once teammates at Manchester United, but they had no difficulty playing the part of rivals in the Milan derby, as the Swede’s AC Milan took on the Belgian’s Inter in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia on Tuesday night.
The pair went head-to-head – quite literally – in a foul-mouthed squaring up, for which both received a booking, that became the talking point of the match.
Both players used plenty of colourful language and amongst the alleged comments, Ibrahimovic has been accused of racism.
“Call your mother, do your voodoo sh*t,” Ibrahimovic is alleged to have said.
“F*ck you and your wife, you little b*tch,” Lukaku supposedly replied.
It is the voodoo reference by Ibrahimovic which has perhaps been attracting the most attention, but to get to the root of it, we need to go back to Lukaku‘s Everton days.
In January 2017, when the Belgian forward rejected a contract extension from the Toffees, major shareholder Farhad Moshiri claimed voodoo was to blame.
“We offered him a better deal than Chelsea and his agent came to Finch Farm to sign the contract,” said Moshiri.
“Robert [Elstone, Everton’s chief executive] was there, everything was in place, there were a few reporters outside, then in the meeting Rom called his mother.
“He said he was on a pilgrimage in Africa or somewhere and he had a voodoo, and he got the message that he needs to go to Chelsea.”
Lukaku ended up joining Manchester United, not Chelsea, and, as a devout Catholic, he strongly denied the claims of voodoo influence, threatening legal action against Moshiri.