- A statue of Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been sawn off at the ankles and overthrown by angry fans in response to the striker investing in a rival team.
- The 38-year-old bought shares in Hammarby shortly after his statue was erected in October last year, according to the BBC, prompting backlash from Malmo fans.
- Vandals first defaced the statue with a toilet seat in November, cut off its nose in December, and the latest attack has now seen it removed for repairs, says the BBC.
- “It is understandable that the choices Zlatan Ibrahimovic made arouse emotions,” said Hakan Sjostrand of the Swedish football association. “[But] there are no excuses for this disrespectful damage. It must stop.”
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A statue of Zlatan Ibrahimovic outside his boyhood club, Malmo FF, has been sawn off at the ankles and overthrown by angry fans in response to the striker investing in a rival team.
The damage was discovered on Sunday, says the BBC. A Sweden shirt was placed over the statue’s face.
Ibrahimovic, 38, started his professional career at Malmo as a teenager in the late 90s, and had the statue erected in honour of his career in October, 2019.
However shortly after, the former LA Galaxy star bought 25% of the shares of rival club Hammarby, according to the BBC, prompting backlash from Malmo fans.
Vandals first attacked Ibrahimovic’s property in Stockholm in late November, writing “Judas” on his door and leaving “foul-smelling fermented herring” on his porch, says Pro Soccer USA.
The statue had a toilet seat placed on its arm and plastic bag draped over its head.
In December, the sculpture had its nose cut off and was sprayed silver, and the latest attack has now seen it have to be removed for repairs, though it is expected to be put back up, according to the BBC.
It remains nclear who caused the damage, and there has been no reports of any arrests.
“It is with anger and great disappointment that we find that the Zlatan statue has once again been vandalized,” Hakan Sjostrand, secretary general of the Swedish football association, said in an official statement.
“Zlatan Ibrahimovic is Sweden’s greatest footballer of all time, his importance on and off the pitch has been enormous. That is the unique meaning we have honored and recognized through the statue in Malmö.
“It is understandable that the choices Zlatan Ibrahimovic made arouse emotions. But that a few individuals are giving way to their disappointment by vandalizing and violating is completely unacceptable. There are no excuses for this disrespectful damage. It must stop.
“We hope that all good forces mark against these criminal acts, and that the police find the guilty.”
Malmo FF, nor Ibrahimovic’s representatives, immediately replied to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Ibrahimovic re-joined former club AC Milan in December on a six-month deal, with the option to extend for another season, and is expected to make his debut against Sampdoria on Monday.
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