A mural of Romelu Lukaku’s feud with Zlatan Ibrahimovic has mysteriously appeared outside the San Siro ahead of the Milan derby on Sunday.
The artist is currently unknown with the image appearing in the early hours of Sunday morning with the inscription, “face to face, heart to heart”.
The street art celebrates the rivalry between the two clubs through their most iconic players as Inter head into the encounter as Serie A leaders after beating Lazio to leapfrog AC Milan who were stunned 2-0 by Spezia.
Milan came out on top of the reverse league fixture in October but lost the Coppa Italia fixture last month with Ibrahimovic sent-off for two bookable offences.
The Swede’s first caution came after a heated exchange with former Manchester United team-mate Lukaku at the end of the first-half, which continued into the tunnel during the interval.
And it is this now-famous altercation that the artwork depicts as they squared up to each other on the pitch.
The pair could be seen – and heard on television due to the San Siro being empty – exchanging insults as Lukaku had to be restrained by his team-mates as he attempted to confront the Swedish forward.
Ibrahimovic’s language also subsequently came in for criticism on social media with the forward denying using any form of racist language and an investigation later finding no case to answer.
Lukaku and Ibrahimovic’s encounter at the San Siro was the latest chapter in their running saga which began when the two were team-mates at Old Trafford.
Lukaku said in an interview with Tiki Taka ahead of their first encounter in Serie A: “Ibra is a champion, I respect him. In Manchester I could train every day with him, that was the most beautiful thing for me. It will be nice to play against him. He is a great champion and professional.
“For me it’s not normal that he can do those things at his age. He works a lot; he always gave me advice when we played together in Manchester.”
But in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport in 2019, the 39-year-old Swede was far from complimentary when discussing Lukaku’s technique and said he made a bet with the forward while the pair were together at United – which was turned down.
“I will say this on Romelu: don’t expect good technique from Lukaku. His best strength is sheer power. If only he’d listened to me,” Ibrahimovic 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.”
Back in February 2020, Lukaku scored in the final minute to complete a 4-2 win over Milan and he posted on social media a “new king” was in town, inferring he had dethroned Ibrahimovic in the Italian city.
Ibrahimovic and Milan had previously stated the Swede’s second spell with the Rossoneri marked the “return of the king”.