Zlatan Ibrahimovic has denied all allegations of using racist abuse during his on-field clash with Romelu Lukaku in the Coppa Italia match between Inter and AC Milan on Tuesday evening.
The attackers squared up to each other at half-time, trading verbal blows and ultimately being cautioned by referee Paolo Valeri.
Lukaku came out on top in the end, scoring the equaliser in a 2-1 win for the Nerazzurri, while Ibrahimovic was shown a second yellow in the second half and was given his marching orders.
The dust has far from settled in the wake of the spat, however, as pitch-side microphones picked up the heated conversation between Lukaku and Ibrahimovic, with the latter reportedly calling the former a “donkey” and telling him to go do his “voodoo sh*t”, among other things.
The voodoo reference appears to date back to a report that Everton owner Farhad Moshiri used it to explain why Lukaku left the club for Manchester United, with a representative for the player subsequently stating that he simply did not have faith in the club’s project.
Taking to social media on Wednesday, Ibrahimovic insisted that he made no discriminatory remarks – although could not resist a little dig at Lukaku by suggesting he is better than the Inter frontman.
The Swede wrote: “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.”
But while Ibrahimovic may not have apologised to Lukaku for his language, the 39-year-old did acknowledge his poor behaviour in the dressing room after the match.
Rossoneri boss Stefano Pioli told RAI following the game: “It influenced the sending off because he was booked there. I don’t know what they said. It can happen, we have to think about the next one.
“The second yellow card was from his desire to track back and help the team. He could’ve slowed down, but it happens. In the dressing room he apologised.
“We are sorry to have gone out of this competition, we wanted to win. We were able to keep up with a very strong opponent. Being outnumbered has complicated the situation.
“I come out of this defeat feeling positive and confident for the future. Only the numerical difference made the difference.
“In 11 vs 11 it was an open game and we were ahead.”