MALMO, SWEDEN – A fence has been placed around a statue of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and security guards have been keeping watch after it was vandalized by Malmo soccer fans furious at the Swedish great for buying a stake in a rival club.
Ibrahimovic riled the fanbase of Malmo, the club where he started his career, by acquiring nearly 25 percent of Stockholm-based team Hammarby in his first move into soccer ownership.
Some angry Malmo supporters reacted by lighting fires at the base of a golden statue of the 38-year-old striker that was unveiled at his former club’s stadium last month. A discriminatory message was spray-painted in front of the monument, while a toilet seat was placed around one of the statue’s arms and a plastic bag put over its face.
Swedish newspapers reported Thursday that a fence with tarpaulin has been put around the statue and that three cars from a security firm were parked close by.
Ibrahimovic has yet to comment on the reaction.