Zlatan Ibrahimovic has denied his comments towards his former Manchester United teammate Romelu Lukaku in AC Milan’s Coppa Italia defeat against Inter Milan were racist.
He tweeted: “In ZLATAN’s world there is no place for RACISM. We are all the same race - we are all equal !!
“We are all PLAYERS some better than others.”
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His former Manchester United teammate Paul Pogba has come out in support of the 39-year-old.
He wrote 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!"
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Ibrahimovic gave his side the lead in the Coppa quarter final, drilling in off the post, before tempers became frayed in the San Siro.
The Swedish striker and Lukaku, who played together at Manchester United, locked heads and exchanged words at the end of the first half, before the pair had to be restrained as the players left the pitch for the interval.
The referee cautioned both before giving Ibrahimovic another yellow card and a red in the second half for a foul on Aleksandar Kolarov - the first time the Swede has been sent off in Europe since being dismissed while playing for Paris St Germain at Chelsea in March 2015.
Pitchside microphones picked up Ibrahimovic saying "call your mother and do that voodoo ****." to Lukaku, a reported reference to claims made in 2018 by Everton owner Farhad Moshiri that the Belgium striker opted to leave the club after receiving a "voodoo message".
Lukaku sought legal advice to that comment. A representative for the player responded: "Romelu's decision had nothing to do with voodoo."
AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli said Ibrahimovic apologised after he was sent off.
"He (Ibrahimovic) apologised like the great champion he is," Pioli said.
"He got a bit caught up in the desire to help the team. It wasn't easy to stay in the game a man down. The pressure from Inter was strong."
Inter came from behind to win the match, with a penalty from Lukaku and a 97th-minute winner from Christian Eriksen sending Antonio Conte's side through to the semi-finals.
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