By Brian Bariyo Tumuramye
Vandals have tried to saw through the feet of a statue of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and placed a rope around its neck.
Police have put a fence up around the statue, outside Malmo’s stadium in Sweden, in case it falls down.
It is the latest act of vandalism directed at the statue since it was announced that Ibrahimovic had invested in a rival club last month.
Former Sweden striker Ibrahimovic, 38, made his professional debut for Malmo 20 years ago.
The former Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris St-Germain and Manchester United player is looking for his next club having left LA Galaxy at the end of the MLS season.
On 27 November it was announced he had bought 25% of the shares in Hammarby, who finished third in this year’s Swedish championship.
That same day, the 3.5 metre high bronze structure, commissioned by the Swedish FA and unveiled on 9 October, was sprayed with paint, set on fire and a toilet seat put over its arm. Ibrahimovic’s house in Stockholm was also vandalised, with ‘Judas’ painted on the front door.
The latest incident occurred in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Malmo police spokesperson Eva-Gun Westford told BBC Sport an investigation had been opened and police would be looking at CCTV to identify the culprits.
“Someone tried to saw the feet,” she said. “There is a risk now it could fall and we have placed a fence around it.”
The statue’s artist Peter Linde has appealed for people to stop the vandalism.
He told sportbladet “People act like they’re at war, but this isn’t war, it’s about football. It is so insane that one cannot respect that Zlatan is a free man.
“I want the statue to be repaired and restored and for those who are doing this to realize how stupid they are.”