Football News

Ibrahimovic: ‘Lukaku has this mad hunger’.. despite turning down my £50 bet at Man Utd’

By Ollie Thomas

Published: 16:51, 19 October 2019

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed that he once offered Romelu Lukaku £50 for every good first touch he made at Manchester United.

The Swedish superstar was Lukaku’s team-mate for a season at Old Trafford before heading to LA Galaxy in March 2018.

Lukaku’s Utd career: Five things to know…

  • Lukaku joined Utd for a reported £75m.
  • He scored 28 goals in 66 Premier League appearances…
  • …and top-scored for Utd in both of his seasons with the club.
  • It was his brace which gave the platform for Utd to beat PSG at the Parc de Princes last season.
  • He left for Inter last summer.

Ibrahimovic lost his place in the Utd side to Lukaku, despite the veteran forward scoring 17 goals in his debut Premier League season. Lukaku was taken under Ibrahimovic’s wing and the LA Galaxy superstar has now revealed the pair had some fun whilst at Old Trafford too.

In an exclusive interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, he said: “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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“Don’t expect good technique from Lukaku”

Despite a mightily impressive goal-scoring record in England (he’s the youngest non-English player to reach 100 Premier League goals), Lukaku had a reputation for an often sloppy technique.

It is believed that the primary reason Solskjaer was eager to offload the Belgian was due to his inability to carry the ball in the same way that Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial can – a decision he may now regret, given Utd’s lack of attacking options due to injuries.

Lukaku was brought in by Inter and long-standing fan Antonio Conte to replace talisman Mauro Icardi. He has three goals in Serie A to his name already, but Ibrahimovic believes that Icardi will still be missed.

He added: “Mauro Icardi’s statistics speak for him, but then I have a weakness for those who work their socks off for their teammates.

“I will say this on Romelu: don’t expect good technique from Lukaku, but his best strength is sheer power.”