The LA Galaxy striker’s 20-year glittering career is to be marked by an unveiling outside the ground where he made his professional debut
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s iconic standing in Swedish football is to be marked with the unveiling of a statue in his hometown of Malmo in October.
The LA Galaxy captain has earned a reputation as one of the best strikers in the world during a glittering 20-year career which began with Malmo in 1999.
The bronze monument, which has been in the works for the past few years, stands 2.7 metres tall and weighs 500kg and is a gift to the 37-year-old from the Swedish Football Association.
It will be unveiled on October 8 and is located in the square between Malmo’s old and new stadiums where his career began, reports AS.
“The statue will forever be a great manifestation of Sweden‘s greatest and one of the world’s best footballers of all time,” said the secretary general of the association, Hakan Sjostrand.
Ibrahimovic said: “I’m very happy with the decision to place the statue in Malmo, it was my wish from the very beginning. This is where everything started, and this is where my heart is.”
When the statue was originally commissioned, Ibrahimovic said: “It feels unreal. Many are thinking ‘why him?’ and so on, but after all the hard work over 15 years in the national team and 20 years in my club career, it feels like it’s being appreciated.
“You usually get this after you die, but I still feel alive. When I die, this will live on forever.”
Ibrahimovic has scored over 400 goals for some of the biggest clubs in Europe including Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, as well as winning multiple league and cup titles.
He retired from international football after Euro 2016 having scored 62 goals in 116 games for his country.
He moved from Manchester United to MLS club the LA Galaxy in March 2018 on a free transfer, having scored 28 goals in all competitions during an impressive first season at Old Trafford in 2016-17.
A knee ligament injury curtailed his Red Devils career, but he has now recovered and is back to his prolific best, scoring seven goals in his last four appearances for Galaxy.
The former Sweden international, who once described himself as “a lion, not a human”, still follows United’s results.
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“The lion still roars, yes,” he said. “I could still play easily in the Premier League.
“If United need me, I’m here. But right now Galaxy have me and that’s what I’m concentrating on.
“I did my job in Europe. I enjoyed it. I have 33 trophies that I brought with me and hopefully I can win something here and then we will see where I finish.”