Updated: January 29, 2021 7:50:25 am
Paul Pogba has come forward in defence of his former Manchester United teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic after accusations of racial abuse towards Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku surfaced on Tuesday.
Ibrahimovic and Lukaku were involved in a heated clash on the pitch during AC Milan’s Coppa Italia quarter-final against their city rivals, which Inter eventually won 2-1, courtesy of a Christian Eriksen injury-time free-kick.
The 39-year-old journeyman scored the opener for AC Milan before he was sent off in the second half by referee Paolo Valeri for a second yellow card following a verbal confrontation with the Belgian target-man.
During the clash, Ibrahimovic can reportedly be heard saying, “Go do your voodoo sh*t, you little donkey. Go do your voodoo sh*t. Call your mother!”
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Meanwhile in the Milan Derby, Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a war of words just before halftime. 👀pic.twitter.com/5IgR9Yypa3
— Kawowo Sports (@kawowosports) January 26, 2021
According to Football Italia, the “voodoo” comments were related to a suggestion made in the past by Everton owner Farhad Moshiri. Back in 2018, Lukaku had clarified that his decision to reject a new contract at the Merseyside club didn’t have anything to do with “voodoo”, following Moshiri’s suggestion.
After the Swede’s words were called racist by some, Pogba lent his support.
“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!” the France midfielder said.
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! 🤣
— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) January 27, 2021
Ibrahimovic too denied the claims with a post on social media.
“In Zlatan’s world there is no place for racism! We are all the same race – we are all equal! We are players. Some better than others,” the Swede posted.
In ZLATAN’s world there is no place for RACISM.
We are all the same race – we are all equal !!
We are all PLAYERS some better then others.https://t.co/DhguHUOFte
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) January 27, 2021
Following Tuesday’s match, AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli said Ibrahimovic “apologised to the dressing room” for letting his team down with the sending off.
Inter’s victory saw them progress to the semi-finals of the Italian domestic cup competition, where they will face Juventus, who beat SPAL 4-0 on Wednesday night.
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