Paolo Maldini claims Romelu Luakaku’s unprovoked attack on AC Milan’s players caused his row with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Earlier this week, the former Manchester United teammates traded insults during Inter’s 2-1 victory over AC Milan in the Coppa Italia.
Both players have been handed a one-game ban, while the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has opened an investigation as to whether Ibrahimovic used a racist insult by telling Lukaku to ‘go do your voodoo s***’.
However, Maldini has strongly denied allegations of racism towards Ibrahimovic’s comments and AC Milan’s technical director insists the striker was simply sticking up for his teammates who were abused by Lukaku.
‘I am very instinctive and always have been. I have the image of a balanced man, and I suppose I am,’ Maldini told Sky Sport Italia.
‘With regards the derby, it was an ugly incident, it went on really for too long, but it ends there.
‘We’ll see how it goes. If someone tries to pull racism into this, then we are prepared to defend our player, because racism has nothing to do with Ibra.
‘The player apologised to the team for leaving them down to 10 men. Lukaku was attacking his teammates for no reason, so he stood up for them.
‘What happened was that it went on for far too long and it should’ve been closed much earlier. I don’t expect anything other than for him to be Ibra, and his statistics have been exceptional.
‘This is a player who is eager, hungry and determined.’
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