Wednesday January 27 2021
Why Ibrahimovic used 'voodoo' on Lukaku

Zlatan Ibrahimovic reportedly denied he racially abused Romelu Lukaku, as the ‘voodoo’ comment was referencing a specific incident from his Everton days.

The former Manchester United teammates clashed bitterly during this evening’s Coppa Italia quarter-final, which saw Inter beat Milan 2-1.

It seems Lukaku invited Ibrahimovic to meet him outside later, Ibrahimovic laughed and said: "OK, call your mother."

This set off the Belgian, then Zlatan clarified with: "Do your voodoo s***."

This has been read as a racist phrase, but Sky Sport Italia say representatives from Milan assure Ibrahimovic denied any racist insult.

It’s believed Ibrahimovic was referencing a quote from Everton major shareholder Farhad Moshiri, who said in January 2018 that Lukaku had turned down a new contract because of a ’voodoo message.’

“We offered him a better deal than Chelsea and his agent came to Finch Farm to sign the contract," said Moshiri three years ago.

“Robert [Elstone, Everton’s chief executive] was there, everything was in place, there were a few reporters outside, 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 had denied this story, and indeed ended up joining Manchester United rather than Chelsea.

The Belgium international threatened to sue Moshiri for the claim.

“Romelu’s decision had nothing to do with voodoo. He distances himself from these beliefs and this statement and will now see what judicial steps can be taken in relation to them,” a representative told BBC Sport.

“Romelu is very Catholic and voodoo is not part of his life or his beliefs. He simply had no faith in Everton and no confidence in Mr Moshiri’s project. That is why he did not want to sign on any condition. He wanted to make the next step in his career and wanted the security to be able to leave.”

The story did hit the headlines, though, and evidently Ibrahimovic had it stored away for later use as an insult he knew would infuriate the striker.