Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s statue in the Swedish city of Malmo is to be relocated following numerous acts of vandalism against it.
The AC Milan forward was immortalised with a bronze statue showing him celebrating shirtless near the Swedbank Stadium, home of his first club, Malmo.
However, it has been a constant target for vandals ever since Ibrahimovic confirmed his decision to become part-owner of rivals Hammarby.
Anders Malmstrom, City of Malmo’s media spokesman, confirmed to The Associated Press that a council working committee will propose a relocation on Monday.
Malmstrom told the AP that “the statue should stay in Malmo but get a different location than at the [Swedbank] Stadium.”
After one attack in February, Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan, had suggested the statue could be moved to the Italian city where Ibrahimovic currently plays, but his proposal was rejected by Malmo officials.
The statue has been knocked over, set on fire, covered in graffiti, had its nose cut off and had a toilet lid draped over its arm, among other things.
It has been kept in a secret location ever since the latest attack in February.
Unsurprisingly, the vandals haven’t impressed Ibrahimovic himself.
“It’s a shame,” the forward told Dplay. “They want attention and want the media to write about it – it’s at kindergarten level and we’re bigger than that.
“The statue was what it was, but that doesn’t mean that my story will be torn down, it will remain forever.”
Born in Malmo, Ibrahimovic began his career at the club, signing his first contract in 1996 and moving into the first team in 1999.
He scored 16 goals in 40 games for the club before moving on to Ajax in 2001. He has since represented Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and LA Galaxy, and is in his second spell at AC Milan.
He was added to the Malmo Walk of Fame in 2012, and awarded the Medal of the City of Malmo in 2015.
Ibrahimovic is also his country’s all-time leading goalscorer with 62 goals in 116 games for Sweden before his international retirement in 2016.