Photo Credit: AEG
Los Angeles, CA | Nov 27 | Kelly Landaverde – @Kel_landaverde
He was honored with the statue in October, and it was set on fire on Wednesday in an apparent reaction to the former Galaxy player becoming a part owner of rival Swedish club Hammarby. A playing role has not yet been ruled out though. Zlatan began his career at Malmo, his record as an international player for the Sweden national team has been 62 goals in 116 games. Videos on social media showed how it was being torched in the evening, while a racist message was reportedly spray painted next to it. The monument was also vandalized with a toilet seat and a sheet to cover his head. Malmo supporters began a petition online to have it removed.
“Several people are said to have vandalized the statue and sprayed it with paint,” police spokesman Jimmy Morin told state broadcaster SVC, adding that an investigation into the vandalism had been opened.After what happened a fence has been placed around it, and security guards have been dispatched to keep an eye on it, to prevent it from getting vandalized further. The fans are angry not only because he wants to make another club better than the one that opened doors for him, but also because he said that he didn’t think they would be disappointed by his choice. “Hammarby is a fantastic club with passionate supporters and has great respect in both Stockholm and Sweden,” Ibrahimovic said. “I have always liked the club and the fans. I am impressed with what the club has done in recent years, both on and off the pitch. Being able to join and develop Hammarby forward feels both fun and exciting.”
“A betrayal became a betrayal and a provocation,” Kaveh Hosseinpour, vice chairman of Malmo’s official supporters group, told The Associated Press. “So he basically stuck a knife in our backs, and then he came along with a sword and chopped off our heads.” Hosseinpour blasted Ibrahimovic for thinking he was “above criticism, that he is above Malmo FF and our feelings just because he is Zlatan. “The statue is completely worthless now, just a piece of junk,” Hosseinpour said. “The best way to solve that was if it was removed and put somewhere in Stockholm or something. “Every game we go to, we are going to pass Zlatan knowing that there is a statue of an investor in Hammarby, not the statue of the football player Zlatan Ibrahimovic anymore.”He hasn’t confirmed whether he intends to keep on playing soccer after his departure from the MLS. The former Manchester United, Juventus, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain player is a free agent now.