Swedish police have stepped in to protect Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s statue from collapsing after fans attempted to saw off the feet as well as placing a rope around the neck.
The Swedish star had the bronze sculpture erected in Malmo, where he begun his illustrious career, in a tribute to his impact on Swedish football. The statue had been commissioned by the Swedish FA and was unveiled in early October.
But since investing in rival club last month, fans have turned on the hero they idolised for so many years.
When news broke of Ibrahimovic’s involvement with Hammarby, a club in which he has purchased a 25 percent share, Malmo fans have vandalised the statue in a bid to disassociate themselves with the 38-year-old, Daily Mail reports.
Malmo fans spraypainted the statue before setting it on fire, and placing a toilet seat around one of the arms. Ibrahimovic’s residence in Stockholm was also targeted, with the word ‘Judas’ painted on the property.
And now fans have gone a step further in sharing their grievances with the Swede, with attempts made to saw off the statue’s feet, while putting a rope around the neck. Police have since put barriers up to protect against vandalism.
The latest sequence of events leaves a sour taste in what was a strong relationship between Zlatan and the Malmo faithful. The striker broke onto the scene with the Swedish club, scoring 16 goals in 40 appearances before joining Ajax, where his career went from strength to strength.
He would return to represent his country 116 times, scoring 62 goals, including a stunning overhead kick effort from range against England.
Ibrahimovic played for Sweden in two World Cups, and offered to be part of the squad for their 2018 campaign.