Zlatan’s statue defaced by Malmo fans after co-ownership of rivals announced

The statue of striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic outside Swedish side Malmo’s stadium has been defaced – as a reaction to the Swede becoming co-owner of rivals Hammarby.

The 38-year-old described his latest move after departing LA Galaxy earlier in the month as ‘fun and exciting’, but he has subsequently faced a backlash from Malmo supporters.

Malmo chiefs had hoped that the statue would still be respected after Ibrahimovic’s 25% stake in Hammarby was announced on Wednesday morning.

But by 1pm a toilet seat had been attached to one of the arms, with a shirt later draped over his head and tape stuck to the chest.

The figure was only unveiled last month, and is located between their new and old grounds, but it has now been defaced after his move to the board of Hammarby, which is particularly surprising given his previous affiliation with Malmo from 1999-2001 – his first professional club.

Ibrahimovic’s will however not be representing Hammarby on the pitch, as many thought he might when he revealed a video of himself holding up their shirt.

AC Milan, Bologna, and even a return to Manchester United have all been mentioned as possible destinations, but it appears he is focusing on off-field matters for the time being.

On his co-ownership of Hammarby, Ibrahimovic said: ‘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, since then 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.’