The tensions between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku may have been bubbling away for a few years before exploding on Tuesday, a report claims.
This morning’s edition of Tuttosport (via MilanNews) takes a look at the possible reasons for the furious exchange between the two players during the Coppa Italia derby.
The newspaper says that the reasons for the friction between the duo dates back to the period as team-mates at Manchester United in the 2017-18 season.
Ibrahimovic said to Lukaku: “Go do your voodoo sh**, little donkey.” The voodoo reference dates back to 2017 when Farhad Moshiri – the owner of Everton – claimed that the current Inter striker had refused the renewal of the contract because while his mother was in Africa she participated in a voodoo ritual which told her son to join Chelsea.
Lukaku denied such claims and reiterated that his family is Catholic. The choice not to stay with Everton was therefore a sporting decision rather than anything to do with divine intervention.
As for the expression donkey, in England it is used to describes players with physical presence but poor in controlling the ball, passing or shooting . Lukaku – after arriving in Manchester – had a song about him made by a small group of United fans, but the part about him being a donkey was removed.
This is something that Ibrahimovic – during his time at Manchester United – had called Lukaku out on. During the 2017-18 season season, Zlatan revealed that he had made a bet with the Belgian.
“I’ll give you 50 pounds for every good first touch,” he said, as per the report. When the current Inter striker asked him what he would get in return, the Swede replied: “Nothing, I just make you a better player!”
Ibrahimovic and Lukaku also shared the agent Mino Raiola, as in 2018 the latter decided to change to Roc Nation for image rights and Federico Pastorello for sporting decisions. Raiola did not take well the decision of the Belgian striker well, so relations deteriorated and divorce arrived.
Ibrahimovic of course is a Raiola loyalist and the provocation aimed at Lukaku in the last derby could also have this origin.