Tue, 17 Sep 2019

Stockholm - Former Sweden forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to unveil a bronze statue of himself in his hometown of Malmo on October 8, the Swedish Football Association announced on Monday.

The monument to the 116-time international is 2.7 metres tall and weighs 500kg.

It will be installed in the square between the city's old and new football stadiums, home of local side Malmo FF, where 'Ibra' started his professional career.

Ibrahimovic, 37, who currently plays for LA Galaxy in the US' MLS, said he was "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," he said in a statement.

The Swedish Football Association, which initiated the project in 2015, entrusted the design to sculptor Peter Linde.

"The statue will forever be a great manifestation of Sweden's greatest and one of the world's best footballers of all time," Hakan Sjostrand, secretary general of the association, said.

Since his professional debut with Malmo in 1999, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored more than 400 goals for clubs such as Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and LA Galaxy as well as winning multiple league and cup titles.

He also scored 62 goals for the Swedish national team.

Now a successful entrepreneur and one of the best-paid athletes on the planet, the rags-to-riches footballer grew up in Rosengard, a district in Malmo which is known for economic and social issues.

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