Having started his career with Malmo FF, the former Sweden striker has now bought shares in rivals Hammarby and his former fans are less than pleased.
A statue of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in his hometown of Malmo has been vandalised – and not for the first time – after his investment in Stockholm club Hammarby IF.
Ibrahimovic started his career with Swedish giants Malmo FF, leaving in 2001 for Ajax and going on to represent Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and LA Galaxy.
Having made 116 appearances for the Swedish national team, scoring 62 goals, he is one of the most famous sportsmen in Scandinavia and Malmo fans hoped he might return to the club in some capacity at the end of his playing career.
Instead Ibrahimovic has bought 23.5 per cent of the shares in Hammarby, an up-and-coming club who finished third in the Allsvenskan last season. Hammarby ended up behind Malmo on goal difference alone and were a single point away from winning only their second ever league title.
Ibrahimovic’s involvement with Hammarby has not gone down well among his former fans. A statue of Ibrahimovic outside Malmo’s home ground, unveiled in October, has been repeatedly damaged since his investment in their rivals was announced last month, with vandals attempting to saw through the feet, cover it with paint, adorn it with toilet seats, bombard it with fireworks and set it on fire.
At one stage, racist graffiti was sprayed on the ground nearby. Swedish police announced that they were investigating, with spokesperson Jimmy Modin telling Sportbladet: “We are at the scene, there is a patrol and we are compiling a report. We will see what they come up with but no-one has been arrested and there are no suspects.”
Now, in the latest act of defacement, someone has cut off the statue’s nose. This also follows vandalism at Ibrahomivic’s house in Stockholm, where someone painted the word ‘Judas’ on his front door.
The statue’s artist Peter Linde has asked people to stop vandalising his work. He told Sportbladet earlier this month: “People act like they’re at war, but this isn’t war, it’s about football. It’s so insane that one cannot respect that Zlatan is a free man.
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“I want the statue to be repaired and restored and for those who are doing this to realise how stupid they are.”