Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s statue is likely to be relocated from outside Malmö’s stadium to another site in the city after repeated acts of vandalism.
The statue was unveiled outside the Swedbank Stadium last October but has come under attack since Ibrahimovic, who began his career with Malmö FF, became a part-owner of Hammarby, a rival top-flight club based in Stockholm.
The statue was sprayed with paint and had its nose cut, before being sawn off at the ankles and overturned. The statue was removed in early January for repairs and has been kept in a secret location ever since.
Anders Malmstrom, the city’s media spokesman, has confirmed the council is seeking to relocate the statue. On Monday, a working committee will propose that the statue should stay in the city but be moved away from the stadium. Malmstrom did not say whether the club had been briefed on the issue.
The 9’10” bronze statue weighs 500kg and was created by sculptor Peter Linde. It shows Ibrahimovic standing bare-chested with open arms. It cost 500,000 Swedish krona (£42,000) to make, with maintenance costs paid by the city.
Ibrahimovic was born in Malmö and broke into the club’s first team in 1999, moving to Ajax in 2001. The forward, now 38 and under contract with Milan, has also played for Juventus, Internazionale, Barcelona, PSG and LA Galaxy and is Sweden’s all-time top international scorer.
Some have suggested the statue should be moved to Stockholm, where Ibrahimovic owns property and the Swedish FA, which commissioned the statue, is based. In February the mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala, suggested the statue could be moved to Italy but Malmö city officials rejected the proposal.