Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not expected to be charged with racist abuse of Romelu Lukaku, as he explained to FIGC investigators that his ‘voodoo’ comment was based on a specific story.
The pair had an ugly clash during the Coppa Italia quarter-final, with both players booked, and as it was played behind closed doors, their mutual insults were clearly picked up by the microphones.
That included Milan forward Ibrahimovic calling the Inter striker a “little donkey” and urging him to “call your mother and do your voodoo s***.”
Ibrahimovic has steadfastly denied any racist intent in the phrase, and Lukaku has not actually accused him of racism either.
According to multiple reports this morning, the explanation Zlatan gave to investigators when interrogated at the Milanello training ground on Friday was that the ‘voodoo’ comment was based on a very specific story in the English newspapers in 2017.
This hit the headlines because Everton shareholder Farhad Moshiri claimed in an interview that Lukaku refused to sign a new contract with the club after calling his mother, who had “a voodoo and got the message that he needs to go to Chelsea.”
Lukaku denied the story, and indeed ended up at Manchester United rather than Chelsea anyway, threatening to sue Moshiri.
By presenting the English newspaper coverage of that story, Ibrahimovic can clear himself of any racism accusations, because it was a specific incident in the public eye and not a general stereotype based on Lukaku’s African origins.
Zlatan also had to explain the meaning of the term ‘little donkey,’ which in England is a very common phrase used to describe a player with no technical skill.
Again, this would fit in with the clashes these two had in the past at Manchester United – when Ibrahimovic confessed he tried to reward Lukaku with money every time he had a decent first touch in training – and is to be filed under general ‘trash talk.’
Lukaku will also be interviewed by the FIGC investigators next week, but he has not at any point accused Ibrahimovic of racism during their clash, nor have Inter intimated that was an issue.
The possibility of Ibrahimovic being charged with racist abuse was only ever in the media.