Tempers were flaring even before the ball touched the grass at the San Siro stadium on Tuesday. That’s because a war was about to begin, in Italy they call it the Derby Della Madonnina, while we just say the Milan Derby. Two teams in 1 city that both share the SAME stadium for home games. Imagine how much the Rangers and Islanders would hate each other even more if they were to share, let’s say Madison Square Gardens?
Ac Milan and Inter faced off in what became an epic Coppa Italia quarter final game. It wasn’t just two rivals facing off in a cup match, but also two former teammates playing against each other. Romelu Lukaku now with Inter and Zlatan Ibrahimovic representing Ac Milan, spent close to 2 years together at Manchester United. Playing the same position means sometimes one of them sat on the bench, and this usually creates a healthy rivalry and competition for a playing spot.
Ibrahimovic is known as a dynamic in-your-face player, the kind of tough guy who’s testosterone level is about to explode. He can score a goal almost anytime he wants to. The Lion also has a black belt in taekwondo, which he implements into the game. This Derby saw Ibra being his usual pest from the beginning of the game, very vocal with the opposition after jumping for a header in Inters box and knocking over 2 defenders at the same time in the process.
Hate him or Love him, he’s got quite the character and this will you give a better understanding of him as a person. He describes a tussle he had with Messi, and another hilarious comment about Cristiano Ronaldo:
Ac Milan went up 1 – 0 in the 31st minute after a low rolling ball shot from inside the box hits the bottom left post, bounces and rolls into the net. Star man Ibrahimovic celebrates after putting his team in the lead. It must have riled him up because he became even more aggressive with his challenges, knocking players over, while throwing his body at them to steal the ball away.
In the 43rd minute, close to the end of the first half is when the battle within the war began. Romelu Lukaku, also a big strong player with a temper, gets up off the grass losing it after a body check like challenge from Ac defender Romagnoli. At this point all the players on both teams rush Lukaku and his teammates who are trying restrain the fuming Belgium as he gets in Romognoli’s face.
Zlatan being Zlatan considered this the perfect moment to start being the instigator he really is. Though he wasn’t even involved in the tussle, he started calling out Lukaku, who then in returns starts mouthing off to the cocky Ac Milan striker. Insults are thrown at each other, most of Lukakus teammates need to hold him back because he had fire burning in his eyes as he is tried to get close to Ibrahimovic .
Considering there are NO FANS in stadiums this year, a lot can be heard this, sometimes good and other times bad.
‘’You are a donkey!’’ Ibrahimovic taunts Lukaku.
Lukaku replies with ‘’Let’s go inside you b**ch, we’re gonna see’’
Zlatan then replies, ‘’Call your Mother, go do your voodoo sh*t you donkey’’
Romelu Lukaku tells the Swede ‘’F**k you and your wife you little b**ch’’
Both players managed to get close enough to each other to literally butt heads while the instigator continues to call Romelu Lukaku a donkey and keeps mentioning his mother along with voodoo. Why these chosen words?
The referee and players from both teams managed to finally separate the dueling 2, before issuing them both yellow cards.
The game goes on, for another few minutes before the whistle is blown for half time. Lukaku and Ibra continue to throw shots at each other as if they are emptying a verbal gun clip. Teammates again restrain the pair, and as Ibrahimovic starts walking towards the tunnel, Lukaku can be seen trying to break free and rush the player, he was ready and angry enough for a fight.
You can see the action here:
Fans also heard the Inter Milano striker tell the Swede,
‘’You want to speak about my mother you son of a b**ch? I’ll shoot you in the head.’’
Woah what the …. ?
Clearly his mother’s name being dropped made him blow a fuse. There is a story that made headlines a few years back, about the Voodoo that Ibra is referring. It also involves a phone call Romelu is claimed to have made to his mother in the middle of contract negotiations
Before signing for Manchester United Lukaku really wanted to go to back Chelsea but his agent was persuading him to remain at Everton, where he was playing at the time. The club’s owner really wanted to keep his star striker; matching and even somewhat bettering the Chelsea offer. Once the meeting was finally set with the contract to be signed, the now Inter player got up and said he had to call his mother. He then told her about an apparent voodoo experience he had on a pilgrimage in Africa which told him to go to Chelsea. Well as farfetched as it seems, Farhad Moshiri who owns Everton Fc was adamant that this did actually happen and is the reason the player decided not to extend his stay with ‘The Toffees’. The player on the other hand has denied all claims and even threatened to sue Moshiri.
Ok, now we get why he was so livid
I don’t know how lightly Serie A and Fifa will take this situation considering violent threats have no place on a soccer field, but if the game was closer to hockey, they’d have definitely dropped the gloves and happily spent 5 minutes in the box. There is also the fact that Romelu Lukaku is of African and Belgium descent, some people may take the term Donkey as being a racist comment from Ibrahimovic. The player was quick to dismiss racism on Twitter the following day, he managed to also land a low blow too, as seen here:
Paul Pogba, who played with both players at Manchester was amused when a reporter asked him if the comments were racist:“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!”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic showing off his Taekwondo kicking skills on his beautiful 500th career goal:
To be honest, I have personally called people a donkey before, in a joking way, and it didn’t matter what skin colour, religious or ethnic background they were because it was not intended in that way. I don’t feel what was said is a racist comment in the least bit, but one can imagine that the federation might not agree with Zlatan or me for the matter. Journalists, both teams, and fans alike are waiting to find out about potential bans on both players. However the one definite ban so far is Lukaku’s, since he picked up a yellow card against Ac Milan he will sit out the semi-final match against rivals Juventus. (Good news for me being a Juve fan)
In the 2nd half though the feud between both teams continued, Inter was more focused on winning. The Rossoneri were looking good too, that is until Zlatan Ibrahimovic got himself booked for a ”SMART” decision to tackle Inter’s defender Kolorov. His second yellow card, now the red card comes out the referee’s back pocket and Zlatan win ‘s himself a trip to the stands. This poor decision on the VERY competitive Swede ended up costing his team greatly. Ac Milan are now a man down and still facing the opposing Belgium striker who’s managed to keep his cool since the second half began. Lukaku was focused and a real threat, scoring the tying goal from a calm taken penalty. Ibrahimovic must have lost his s**t in the locker room, he’s known for hitting and throwing things around when angry there are many great videos on YouTube.
Lukaku stays calm and scores his penalty
The derby remained tied at 1 a piece until the 97th minute, Inter’s Christian Eriksen, a free kick specialist was gifted a great chance from just outside the box . The attacking midfield has been a horrible recent signing for the team, can he actually do something well? Inter fans all over probably wanted wonderkid Barella to take the kick as seconds are literally being counted down in anticipation of this game heading to extra time.
Until Eriksen scored his best goal in years.
The game is over, and Inter take the Derby, advancing to the next round of the Coppa Italia’s cup tournament. Eriksen might not be loaned back out to former club Tottenham afterall. Of course he won’t because of the money Inter is asking as a loan fee.
The Donkey didn’t need to use Voodoo to beat the Lion.
It is very possible that Zlatan was still bitter about Manchester United not renewing his contract in 2018, and was thinking about how he technically lost his place to Lukaku before starting all this drama. As much talk and exposure players have in the lime light, there are sometimes things we will never fully get to the bottom of.
On another note, I would love to see the 39 year old Ibrahimovic get into the octagon in an MMA competition, I am sure he can eat a lot of them alive. Maybe Ibra and Lukaku will do it during the off season, though I do doubt it. What do you think about the drama in this years Derby della Modonnina was what Ibrahimovic called Lukaku racist?
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Don’t forget to check out this interview from Hot Sauce Sport’s Terry Tam taking on Bacary Sagna who has played for both Arsenal and Manchester city before ending his career with the former Montreal IMPACT.