Paul Pogba defends former Manchester United team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic over ‘voodoo’ insults with Romelu Lukaku, insisting AC Milan striker is NOT racist because he ‘loves me too much’
- Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic clashed in fury during the Milan derby
- During row, the AC Milan striker yelled at Lukaku to ‘go do your voodoo s***’
- The feud led to Ibrahimovic having to deny his comments were racist post-match
- Now his former Manchester United team-mate Paul Pogba has backed his claims
Paul Pogba has backed Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the aftermath of his row with Romelu Lukaku by insisting his former Manchester United team-mate is not a racist.
Ibrahimovic and Lukaku were involved in a bad tempered spat before half-time in Tuesday’s Milan derby which saw Inter Milan progress 2-1 in the Coppa Italia quarter-final at the San Siro.
The pair, who were also once team-mates at Old Trafford, went head to head and exchanged verbal jousts before both being pulled apart and booked, with Ibrahimovic later being sent off for a second yellow card in a separate incident.
Zlatan Ibrahmovic has insisted his ‘voodoo’ insult at Romelu Lukaku was not racist
Lukaku and Ibrahimovic bumped heads during a fiery exchange in Tuesday’s Coppa Italia tie
Ibrahimovic was reported to have said: ‘Go do your voodoo s***, you little donkey.’ during the stare down.
However despite many interpreting it as a racial slur on social media, Pogba has come to the defence of the AC Milan star, by claiming the striker, who was most prominent at Old Trafford during the 2016-17 campaign, was not a racist.
Pogba posted on Twitter: Zlatan… racist? He loves me too much so he’s the last person I’d think of as racist! Come on, don’t joke with that one!
Ibrahimovic who played alongside Pogba during his 18 months at United also denied saying any racial based connotations with his words to Lukaku.
‘In ZLATAN’s world there is no place for RACISM,’ he tweeted. ‘We are all the same race – we are all equal!!’
Paul Pogba has leaped to the defence of Ibrahimovic in his row with Lukaku by insisting his former Manchester United team-mate is not a racist
Pogba and Ibrahimovic enjoyed a good relationship in their 18 months together at United
But Ibrahimovic denied that his comments were racist but he could not resist a separate jibe
However, the Swede could not resist delivering a fresh jibe to Lukaku in a feud which has heated up in the last year as to who is the leading striker in Milan, adding: ‘We are all PLAYERS some better than others.’
Back in February 2020, Inter fought back from 2-0 down to claim bragging rights in the derby with a 4-2 win. Lukaku sealed victory in the third minute of stoppage time and later declared: ‘There’s a new king in town,’ in a clear dig at the Swede.
Ibrahimovic exacted revenge in the next derby back in October by scoring twice in Milan’s 2-1 win, after which he posted on Instagram: ‘Milan never had a king, they have a God.’
Milan representatives also moved to defend their 39-year-old striker’s comments following Tuesday’s quarter-final, claiming the ‘voodoo’ reference was due to Lukaku turning down a new deal at Everton shortly before later moving to United.
The duo were team-mates at Manchester United before they left for Inter and LA Galaxy
Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri said at the time of the contract talks that the Belgian visited a witch doctor in Africa and consequently rejected an extension due to a ‘voodoo message’.
‘We offered him a better deal than Chelsea and his agent came to Finch Farm to sign the contract,’ said Moshiri in January 2018, six months after Lukaku had departed for Manchester United.
‘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 – who joined the Old Trafford side in a £75million deal in the summer of 2017 instead of the Blues – denied the story and threatened to sue Moshiri.
Ibrahimovic was heard yelling at Lukaku ‘Go do your voodoo s***, you little donkey’
Lukaku was heard telling the AC Milan striker ‘f*** you and your wife, you little b****’
‘Romelu’s decision had nothing to do with voodoo. He distances himself from these beliefs and this statement and will now see what judicial steps can be taken in relation to them,’ a representative told BBC Sport.
‘Romelu is very Catholic and voodoo is not part of his life or his beliefs. 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. He wanted to make the next step in his career and wanted the security to be able to leave.’
Ibrahimovic’s spat with Lukaku continued after the comment was made, with the Belgium international appearing to suggest taking the matter off the pitch, to which Ibrahimovic replied: ‘Ok, call your mother.’
Farhad Moshiri (left) claimed Lukaku refused to extend his Everton deal due to a ‘voodoo message’, but Lukaku (right while at Everton) though denied the comments made by Moshiri, insisting he just didn’t see his future at the Toffees
Unimpressed Lukaku duly replied: ‘He wants to talk about mothers? Son of a b****.’
Even at half-time Lukaku tried to chase Ibrahimovic down the tunnel – appearing to insinuate that the 39-year-old had made a comment about his mother.
The 27-year-old could be heard telling the AC Milan striker ‘f*** you and your wife, you little b****’ and ‘you want to speak about my mother!?’ as his Inter team-mates had to hold him back.
The cup tie started with Ibrahimovic opening the scoring for Milan in the 31st minute but he was sent off 13 minutes after the break for a second bookable offence after tripping Inter defender Aleksandar Kolarov.
Lukaku then equalised from the penalty spot after Nico Barella was deemed to have been fouled before Christian Eriksen struck the winner for Inter with a stunning free-kick in the seventh minute of stoppage time.
Lukaku had the last laugh as Ibrahimovic was sent off for a second bookable offence
Lukaku then slotted home a penalty to draw Antonio Conte’s side level before Eriksen’s winner
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