Romelu Lukaku has opened up his angry feud with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, accusing the Swede of "wanting to him for himself".
The two strikers, teammates at Manchester United, had a heated on-pitch confrontation when Inter Milan took on AC Milan in January, trading insults and butting heads. They both received fines and one-match bans in the aftermath.
Lukaku's Inter side came from behind to win that match 2-1 and have since romped to the Serie A title - after which Lukaku took another dig at Zlatan, as he crowned himself the "King of Milan".
Zlatan and Lukaku are going at it :flushed: pic.twitter.com/yMLFI72tiz- ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 26, 2021
In a new interview, Lukaku has finally opened up on their original bust-up, admitting he was angry with Zlatan's taunts and claimed the AC Milan forward "plays for himself" - unlike Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus.
'We were 1-0 down, I had missed a goal and I was a little angry," Lukaku told Il Corriere della Sera per Football Italia. "His words hit me. I am not happy about my reaction, but I don't let myself get pushed around.
"Ibrahimovic is a great footballer, he's won everywhere he's been, scoring more than 500 goals. I had a good relationship with him until I was at Manchester United, but we need these kind of footballers in Serie A.
"He wants to win for himself, I want to win for Inter and Ronaldo for Juventus. Now, there is [Jose] Mourinho at Roma. These are nice things for Italian football."
The real god ✝️- R.Lukaku Bolingoli9 (@RomeluLukaku9) May 3, 2021
has crowned the king!
Now bow down
Il nostro dio ✝️ ha incoronato i Re!
King of Milano :wink::crown: pic.twitter.com/n0gAiYWFTp
Clearly Lukaku respects Ibrahimovic as a player and the star power he brings to Italian football. But the dynamic between the duo forwards somehow deteriorated during the year they shared at Old Trafford.
However the 27-year-old Belgian - whose 21 goals and 10 assists this season have been crucial to Inter's charge to the title - clearly doesn't regret leaving United after only two years. The main reason being his relationship with Antonio Conte, who he calls the best coach he's worked with.
"To me, Conte is the best coach and he immediately convinced me," said Lukaku on his decision to go to Inter. "When I signed with Inter, I texted him, saying: 'I am arriving'," the striker revealed.
"It's always been a dream to play in Serie A. When I was at Manchester United, I used to tell [Matteo] Darmian: 'I'll go to Inter, talk to me in Italian, and reply in English.'
"When I arrived, I already knew the language and Italy has given me so much. We finished as runner-up in Serie A and the Europa League last season, and Conte and I lived that as a defeat. We have been able to transform that into motivation."
So Lukaku clearly feels a debt of thanks to Conte for his sparkling form at Inter, as well as to full-back Darmian for his language skills.
But when it comes to Zlatan, it's a case of thanks for nothing.
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