Zlatan Ibrahimovic has given his testimony to Italian Football Federation investigators charged with examining the fallout from his ugly row with Romalu Lukaku.
The Swede clashed with the Inter Milan striker during January’s Coppa Italia quarter-final. Ibrahimovic could be heard calling Lukaku a “little donkey” and telling him to “call your mother and do your voodoo s**t.” FIGC investigators spoke to Ibrahimovic at the AC Milan training ground on Friday.
However, according to Football Italia, it is expected that Zlatan will not be charged with racist abuse, after he explained that his “voodoo” comment was based on a story published in the UK media.
Specifically, it was based on a 2018 claim made by Everton major shareholder Farhad Moshiri. Talking about ex-Everton player Lukaku leaving the club, Moshiri said: “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 ended up at Manchester United rather than Chelsea anyway – strongly denied the story and threatened to sue Moshiri.
However it seems clear that Ibrahimovic was referencing that story. So it’s understood that Italian authorities have accepted this version of events and believe that his insult was not intended to be a stereotypical reference regarding Lukaku’s Congolese heritage.
Zlatan denied any racist intent in the aftermath of the match, while Lukaku has not accused him of racism.
The heated game was eventually won 2-1 by Inter, Lukaku scoring a penalty before Christian Eriksen’s stoppage-time free-kick winner. Ibrahimovic was also sent off for a second yellow card.