Zlatan Reveals He Made A Bet With Romelu Lukaku About His First Touch While At Man Utd
By Tom Sanders
Zlatan Ibrahimovic took a dig at former Man Utd team-mate Romelu Lukaku, claiming that the Belgian international 'lacks technique' and has a poor first touch.
The Swedish legend had a short but memorable spell at Manchester United, joining in 2016 and briefly playing alongside Lukaku before leaving the club for LA Galaxy in January 2018.
But in a new interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Ibrahimovic revealed that he once offered to help the Belgian with his form and technique in the form of a bet, but the 26-year old striker declined to take him up on the offer.
"I will say this on Romelu: don't expect good technique from Lukaku", Zlatan said. "His best strength is sheer power. If only he'd listened to me...
"At Manchester United, we made a bet: 'I'll give you £50 for every decent first touch you make.'
"He replied: 'What do I win if I get them all right?'
"I told him nothing, he would simply become a better player. For the record, he never accepted the bet! Perhaps he was afraid of losing.
"Joking aside, Lukaku has this mad hunger to prove himself to the world and I'm sure he will do well at Inter too."
Romeulu Lukaku arrived at United in a £75m deal in 2017 and was widely tipped to be the club's next star striker.
But his clumsy technique and inconsistency in front of goal soon put a dent in his star power as he found himself falling further down the pecking order at United, eventually losing the trust and confidence of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
He was sold to Inter Milan in August 2019 and has been working hard to rebuild his career there, scoring three goals in six appearances for the club.
Ibrahimovic spent three seasons at Inter Milan, playing for them between 2006 and 2009 and scoring 57 goals for the club.
The 38-year old could retire as soon as this weekend, but he's hinted he may return to Italy with a move to Napoli on his mind.
"I appreciated the recent documentary about Diego Maradona and nobody was like him," Zlatan admitted. "Seeing the love that the city had for him, it makes me feel like I'd enjoy an experience at Napoli: it'd be fantastic to replicate what Diego did there.
"I'm not saying I will go there, as the final decision depends on many aspects, that that is a fanbase that creates enthusiasm. With me in the team, the San Paolo would be packed every Sunday. Plus there's Carlo Ancelotti, one of the greats."