November 27, 2019 / 9:47 PM / 9 days ago

Angry fans vandalise Zlatan statue in Malmo

FILE PHOTO: Swedish soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic poses in front of a 2,7m bronze statue of him during the unveiling ceremony near Malmo Stadium, Sweden, October 8, 2019. TT News Agency/Johan Nilsson via REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Fans in Malmo reacted angrily to the announcement that striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has acquired a stake in Stockholm club Hammarby by vandalising a statue of the striker outside Malmo Stadium on Wednesday.

It had been announced earlier in the day that 38-year-old Ibrahimovic, Sweden’s record international goalscorer with 62 in 116 games, had acquired almost 25 percent of the shares in Hammarby, who came third in this year’s Swedish league championship.

Announcing the deal, Ibrahimovic said he intended to make Hammarby the biggest club in Scandinavia, angering many of his former fans at Malmo FF, where he first made his name before a trophy-laden career in Netherlands, Italy, Spain, England, France and the U.S.

The 3.5-metre tall statue, which weighs approximately 500 kilograms and was unveiled on October 8 with Ibrahimovic present, was scorched with flares while racist messages had been sprayed on the ground nearby, local media reported.

“Several people are said to have vandalised 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.

Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Ian Chadband

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