Angry Fans Topple Soccer Star's Statue

Fans of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's boyhood club in Sweden aren't happy with him
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2020 8:39 AM CST
Angry Fans Topple Soccer Star's Statue
The damaged statue of soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimovic is seen in Malmo, Sweden, on Sunday.   (Johan Nilsson/TT via AP)

A soccer player with AC Milan isn't so popular anymore with fans of the club he originally played for, and they've taken it out once more on the sculpture erected for him. The BBC reports a nearly 12-foot-tall bronze statue of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Malmo, Sweden, was toppled over the weekend after vandals sawed straight through the ankles; the damaged piece was discovered early Sunday. It's not the first time the statue depicting the 38-year-old, whose boyhood club was Malmo, has been attacked: Vandals have previously cut off the statue's nose, draped a Swedish soccer shirt over its face, spray-painted it, set it on fire, written racist graffiti next to it, and placed a toilet seat over its arm. Pro Soccer USA reports that Ibrahimovic's home has also been a target, with vandals painting "Judas" on a door on his property and leaving "foul-smelling fermented herring" for him.

"It is with anger and great disappointment that we find that the Zlatan statue has once again been vandalized," a Swedish Football Association officer says in a statement, per CNN. "Zlatan Ibrahimovic is Sweden's greatest footballer of all time, his importance on and off the pitch has been enormous." The anger against Ibrahimovic stems from the fact that he bought a 25% stake in November in Hammarby, a rival club to Malmo, to help make it "the best in Scandinavia," per the Guardian. "I can understand that many people are disappointed in Zlatan's behavior, but vandalizing a statute is simply unworthy," a local government official tells AFP, via the BBC. "Better to express your dissatisfaction in a democratic way." No arrests have been reported yet. (Read more Sweden stories.)

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