The Swedish star has cemented his status as a national icon with his very own statue
Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped to unveil his own shirtless statue in Malmo on Tuesday.
The LA Galaxy star has been immortalised in a striking bronze monument near Malmo’s stadium, where he began his professional career in 1999.
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The 38-year-old posted a picture on Twitter showing him alongside the work and surrounded by crowds of fans, with the caption: “We are Zweden!!!”
The bronze Zlatan, standing on a plinth and said to measure nearly nine feet in height and close to half a ton in weight, was commissioned by Sweden’s football authorities to honour their record goalscorer.
It depicts Ibrahimovic celebrating in recognisable style, with arms outstretched and shirt off – although his famous tattoos appear not to have been carved on the glistening torso.
Ibrahimovic hinted at the statue’s creation back in December 2016, when he was still a Manchester United player.
The former Sweden international posted a photo on Instagram of the plaster cast of the work, writing: “When you come to New York you have the Statue of Liberty, when you come to Sweden you have the Statue of Zlatan.”
Ibrahimovic is on a break ahead of the MLS playoffs, having scored 30 goals in 29 regular-season games in 2019 to help his team finish fifth in the Western Conference.
They next face Minnesota United on October 20 at Allianz Field with Ibrahimovic previously making no secret of the fact he’s not a fan of playoffs.
“I think the system is sh*t,” Ibrahimovic told reporters in August. “How can you learn mentality if you only have to reach the playoffs?”
“You just need to win the play-offs, and that’s it. The results in each game are important, but here, if you come in seventh place, you make the playoffs and win, you are champion.
“For me, the mentality is every day, training the way you train is the way you play a game, and with the MLS system, how do you create that mentality to be on your toes 24 hours? It’s very difficult.”
Ibrahimovic is coming off contract with the Galaxy and was recently linked with interest in joining Boca Juniors – a claim his agent Mino Raiola was quick to refute.