Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been immortalised in his hometown of Malmo, with the Swedish city unveiling a statue of its most famous son.
The former Sweden captain was there along with hundreds of fans to see the bronze structure for the first time.
He said: "No matter where you come from, where you are, no matter what you look like, the statue is the symbol that anything is possible.”
In a globe-trotting career that included spells at European giants such as Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, as well as his hometown club, he managed to score 473 goals, and while the 38-year-old retired from international duty in 2016 with 116 caps and 62 goals, he still plays club football in the MLS with LA Galaxy.
Known for his very vocal self-belief nearly as much as his football, he began his football career as a six-year-old, playing for Malmo’s youth side and FBK Balkan – a club founded by Yugoslav immigrants (Ibrahimovic’s parents moved to Sweden from their native Bosnia) – but signed his first contract at Malmo at the age of 15. He spent two years at the club before moving to the Netherlands.
The 8ft 9in statue weighs nearly 500kg and was designed by Swedish artist Peter Linde and commissioned by the Swedish FA. The striker already has his own waxwork, in the Grevin museum in Paris from his time at PSG, while the likes of David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo have also have also been honoured with statues recently.
The Grevin model wasn’t quite what Ibrahimovic wanted. Just prior to leaving Paris for Manchester United, the forward suggested he’d stay if PSG could pull some strings and "change the Eiffel Tower for my statue".
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