Paul Pogba has defended his former team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic against accusations of racism following the Swedish forward’s clash with Romelu Lukaku on Tuesday.
Ibrahimovic and Lukaku were involved in a heated confrontation on the pitch during AC Milan’s Coppa Italia quarter-final against their city rivals, which Inter eventually won 2-1.
The Swede scored the opener in the match before he was sent off in the second half for a second yellow card. Lukaku netted the equaliser for Inter and the match was capped off by a dramatic stoppage-time winner from Christian Eriksen.
However the main talking point after the match was the clash between the two former Manchester United forwards, which resulted in both players being shown a yellow card by referee Paolo Valeri.
Ibrahimovic can reportedly be heard saying: “Go do your voodoo sh*t, you little donkey. Go do your voodoo sh*t. Call your mother!” Lukaku can then be heard responding: “Well, let’s go inside you b*tch. We will see.”
According to Football Italia, Ibra’s “voodoo” comments were related to a suggestion made in the past by Everton owner Farhad Moshiri.
In 2018, representatives for Lukaku denied that the player’s decision to reject a new contract with Everton had anything to do with “voodoo,” following a suggestion by Mr Moshiri at an Everton AGM.
The Swede’s words have been called racist by some, prompting him to deny 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.
Pogba has also leapt to his former team-mate’s defence with a post of his own 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!” the France star said.
Following Tuesday’s match, AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli said Ibrahimovic “apologised to the dressing room” for the clash with Lukaku and the sending off.
Inter’s victory saw them progress to the semi-finals of the Italian domestic cup competition, where they will face either Juventus or SPAL.