Sweden

Two Swedish stars find new Serie A clubs
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Serie A: Juve buys $40M Kulusevski, Milan introduces Zlatan

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Two of Italy’s most celebrated sides unveiled significant Swedish additions on Thursday, one signing half the age of the other.

Juventus purchased 19-year-old Dejan Kulusevski from Atalanta for $40 million on Thursday, while AC Milan introduced Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the legendary Swede passed his medical.

Kulusevski has one cap for Sweden. Ibrahimovic? 116 caps and a national record 62 goals.

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Juve will allow their teen Swede to continue his loan at Parma, where he’s scored four times with seven assists in 17 Serie A appearances this season. He’s committed to The Old Lady through 2023/24.

The winger has represented Sweden at nearly every level, rising from the U15 level all the way to his first senior team cap in November.

Only Lazio’s Luis Alberto has more league assists than Kulusevski, who is rated 18th in Serie A by WhoScored and 50th by SofaScore. The latter site says his 35 successful dribbles are tired for fifth in the league.

As for Zlatan, he’s passed his medical to rejoin AC Milan after leaving the club in 2012 to join Paris Saint-Germain.

The move, announced late last month, gives Milan much-needed center forward reinforcements. Star striker Krzysztof Piatek has just four goals in 17 league matches this season.

Ibrahimovic will wear No. 21 when he makes his Milan debut. The side restarts Serie A play on Monday morning at Sampdoria.

Report: AC Milan seals Zlatan Ibrahimovic return

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Carlo Ancelotti and Everton look set to miss out on Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The big Swede is moving back to Milan, according to a Sky Sports report.

Many (including us) were titillated by the idea of an Ancelotti-Zlatan reunion, but AC Milan looked like the No.1 option if it was able to get the finances in order.

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In fact, reports of a Milan return have been growing since November.

Zlatan returns to Europe two years removed from scoring 28 goals and 10 assists in 46 matches for Manchester United.

He then tortured MLS to the tune of 53 goals and 15 assists in 58 matches with the LA Galaxy.

But while the attacks of MLS are improving, there’s a chasm between Major League Soccer defenses and Serie A.

The club’s center forwards have struggled mightily this year, and Krzysztof Piatek has not picked up where he left off scoring 30 times between Genoa and Milan last season.

The 38-year-old Ibrahimovic has not played in Serie A since leaving Milan in 2012. His Serie A career includes 122 goals and 46 assists in 219 matches between AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Juventus.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic statue vandalized

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A statue of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in his homeland of Sweden has been vandalized.

After Zlatan became an investor in Swedish side Hammarby by buying a 25 percent stake, fans of their rivals Malmo — Zlatan’s boyhood club which also gave him his breakthrough in the professional game — damaged the statue at their stadium.

The statue of Zlatan outside Malmo’s stadium was only unveiled last month, but the 38-year-old has decided to invest in Stockholm based Hammarby and called them a “one of the most interesting and influential clubs in Sweden.”

A toilet seat was place on the arm of the statue, plus a plastic bag was put over its head, a fire was lit underneath it and vandals spray-painted derogatory messages across it. Security staff have been placed surrounding the statue, while reports state that one of Zlatan’s properties in Stockholm has also been damaged after his investment in Hammarby was announced.

His stake in Hammarby comes alongside AEG’s investment in the club, as AEG also own his most recent club, the LA Galaxy.

The former Galaxy, Manchester United, PSG, Barcelona, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Juventus and Ajax forward is now looking for a new club and has said he will not be returning to the Swedish top-flight to play.

Safe to say, he won’t be playing for Malmo anytime soon. Actually, tile that one under never.

Ostersund denied license to play in Sweden’s top league

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OSTERSUND, Sweden — Swedish soccer team Ostersund has been denied a license to play in the top division next season because of its financial problems.

The Swedish Football Association says its licensing board has decided Ostersund “does not meet the elite licensing criteria … for continued operation throughout the next year.”

Ostersund says it will appeal against the ruling, which was announced on Tuesday. As it stands, the club will play in the third-tier Division I in 2020.

Ostersund recently said it needed to raise 10 million kronor ($1 million) to pay creditors and tax authorities in order to continue operating.

The club from central Sweden rose from the amateur ranks in 2011 to the top league in 2015, and won the Swedish Cup in 2017. That qualified Ostersund for the Europa League, where it advanced to the knockout stage before losing to Arsenal despite winning the second leg 2-1 at Emirates Stadium.

Having its license denied is the latest blow to Ostersund after its former chairman, Daniel Kindberg, the man regarded as the mastermind behind the club’s rise, was sentenced this month to three years in prison after being convicted of serious financial crimes. Kindberg is appealing against the conviction.

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Chairman of Swedish club Ostersund appeals against conviction

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OSTERSUND, Sweden — The former chairman of Swedish soccer club Ostersund has appealed against his conviction for serious financial crimes.

Daniel Kindberg was sentenced on Nov. 5 to three years in prison, banned from doing business for five years and ordered to pay damages after being found guilty of funneling millions of kronor in taxpayer money into Ostersund. The scheme involved two other men and three companies, one being the Ostersund municipality’s housing corporation for which Kindberg was chief executive.

Kindberg said immediately after the verdict was handed down that he would appeal, describing it as “a legal scandal.” His defense lawyer, Olle Kullinger, says the appeal was submitted this week and will be heard in the Court of Appeal in Sundsvall, likely next year.

Kulllinger said Kindberg is appealing against the conviction, the damages, and “regarding all points of the indictment.”

Ostersund, which plays in Sweden’s top league, will not be facing any sanctions from the Swedish soccer association following Kindberg’s conviction.