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In October last year, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was very clear about his status in Italy. "Milan never had a king," he said. "They have a God."
Never lacking confidence about his own ability, Ibrahimovic certainly backs up his claims most of the time but today's eagerly-anticipated Milan Derby was different. The Swede was made to eat his words by a man in the form of his life.
Romelu Lukaku played a pivotal part in Inter Milan's 3-0 win against AC at the San Siro on Sunday afternoon and, after providing Lautaro Martinez with an assist for their opening goal of the game, he topped off a fine performance with a finish of the very highest quality.
Lukaku gets his reward for his outstanding performance! :raised_hands:
Inter in control of the derby :large_blue_circle::black_circle:
Inter in control of the title race? :eyes: pic.twitter.com/qGZFL05oTO
- Premier Sports :tv: (@PremierSportsTV) February 21, 2021
Lukaku was certainly animated in his celebrations after netting Inter's third. He ran over to the corner flag, pointed to his chest and shouted ""Dio, diooo!" in relation to his infamous bust-up with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Remember that one?
Twitter user and journalist Emanuel Roşu has since dissected the clip with a rough translation.
"I listened again and again. Can be "Io", which translates as "me", could be "Dio", which translates as God. Obviously addressed to Zlatan either way.
"Zlatan previously said he is the "God" of Milan, so any of the two above would make sense."
"Dio, diooo!" Lukaku screaming to Zlatan after he scored the 3rd in Milan vs Inter. You probably remember the context of this. pic.twitter.com/Tcdz2In6W3- Emanuel Roşu (@Emishor) February 21, 2021
I listened again and again, can be "Io", which translates as "me", could be 'Dio', which translates as God. Obviously addressed to Zlatan either way. Zlatan previously said he is the "God" of Milan, so any of the two above would make sense. #Inter #ACMilan #MilanInter https://t.co/A1GI7kL7tf
- Emanuel Roşu (@Emishor) February 21, 2021
Since "The Lion/ God" decided to come at this man and his family:
+6 points over Milan and now have a four-point lead.
A red card.
A missed PK.
Replaced by Castillejo in the biggest derby in probably a decade. pic.twitter.com/sDoL0JJ9J1
- FedeNerazzurra (@FNerazzurra1908) February 21, 2021
The Belgian forward could also be heard saying "f**k you and your wife" towards Ibrahimovic after they butted heads and exchanged insults in the Coppa Italia quarter final tie.
Tensions reached boiling point at the San Siro as the Swede taunted his former Manchester United teammate, but this certainly isn't the first time Zlatan has 'stirred the pot' when it comes to his relationship with Lukaku.
Zlatan and Lukaku are going at it :flushed: pic.twitter.com/yMLFI72tiz
- ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 26, 2021
Tensions rising between Zlatan and Lukaku in the Milan derby :flushed: pic.twitter.com/mbPDw32yn3
- Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 26, 2021
The former Barcelona forward once claimed that the Belgian international 'lacks technique' and has a poor first touch.
In fact, Ibrahimovic revealed that he once offered to help Lukaku with his form and technique in the form of a bet during their time at Old Trafford.
The 27-year old striker, however, declined to take him up on the offer.
"I will say this on Romelu: don't expect good technique from Lukaku", Zlatan told Gazzetta dello Sport. "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."
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