Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s statue outside Malmö Stadium has been vandalised to the point of near-destruction after former fans of the player knocked the statue off its stanchion.
A statue of Sweden’s all time top goalscorer was erected in the city to recognise his roots with the club and his contribution to football in Sweden as a whole, but has since been repeatedly vandalised.
The 38-year-old recently returned to European shores in short-term deal with Milan following a stint with LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer, but it has been his actions in his home country of Sweden which have caused uproar with the Malmö-born forward.
An academy graduate with Malmö, Zlatan scored 14 goals in 40 appearances for Di Blåe, but risked the wrath of his former supporters when he purchased a 22.5% stake in Stockholm-based club Hammarby, who recently pipped Malmö to the Swedish league title on the final day of last season.
The nose of the statue was cut off in an attack back in December, but the vandalism this weekend was the most severe yet, Aftonbladet report, with fans unwilling to forgive their former hero for his decision. This time, only two feet were left on the plinth with the rest of the body hanging off a security fence erected to prevent further attacks.
On the ground next to the statue the equivalent of ‘remove’ was spray painted in Malmö’s traditional sky blue colour, while a black jumper with the text ‘Sweden’ in yellow colour has been placed over the head of the statue.
Having erected the statue back in September, Zlatan spoke of his pride at being honoured by the people of his hometown stating: “It was my wish from the very beginning. This is where everything started and this is where my heart is.”
Now there is a genuine possibility of the statue being removed entirely, which will come as a bitter blow to Zlatan, who is due to embark on another chapter in his long career when Milan take on Sampdoria in Serie A on Monday.