Vandals saw off Zlatan’s Malmo statue at ankles

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The statue of Zlatan Ibrahimovic located outside Malmo’s Swedbank Stadium has been significantly vandalized, with perpetrators toppling the statue by sawing it off at the ankles.

As a result, the statue has been taken away for repairs, a spokesperson for the Malmo municipality’s sport and recreation department told the BBC. The plan is to bring the statue back despite heavy vandalism over the past few months.

Zlatan began his career at the Swedish club, rising through its youth system and making his professional debut in 1999 before a move to Ajax two years later. Fans have been angered by Zlatan’s recent purchase of a 25% ownership stake in rival club Hammarby, with whom Malmo have battled at the top of the Allsvenskan table for years.

“I can understand that many people are disappointed in Zlatan’s behaviour, but vandalising a statute is simply unworthy,” said Malmo deputy mayor Frida Trollmyr in a statement. “Better to express your dissatisfaction in a democratic way.”

The statue was only recently unveiled, back in October. In December, the statue had its nose sawed off by vandals. In the most recent attack, the statue’s head was covered in a Sweden shirt and had the words “take away” spray painted nearby.

Ibrahimovic signed for his former club AC Milan last week, marking a return to the European game after spending the last two years with the LA Galaxy.