Surgeon to operate on Swedish football trophy

A former national team doctor will perform keyhole surgery on the Allsvenskan football championship trophy to examine whether its creator left behind a pledge of allegiance to his beloved Stockholm club.

Surgeon to operate on Swedish football trophy

Dr. Magnus Forssblad’s surgical skills have been enlisted to determine whether there is any truth to reports that the message “Bajen forever” is inscribed in the ball on the top of the Lennart Johansson Cup, which is awarded to the winners of Sweden’s top-flight Allsvenskan.

“We will perform a laparoscopic surgery, like one for a knee. I suggested it as a fun thing so that we do not have to destroy it, but only drill a small hole,” Forsblad told newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) on Thursday.

Bajen is the nickname of Hammarby Fotboll club, located in southern Stockholm, which adopted the nickname as a short form of a mock English pronunciation of Hammarby.

Peter Gustafsson, a colleague of silversmith Ingemar Eklund, who designed the trophy and was a lifelong Hammarby fan, revealed last month that Eklund inscribed the secret message when the trophy was established in 2001.

The revelation came just prior to the 2010 championship final, which was won by Malmö FF.

Initially, Swedish Football Association (Svenska Fotbollsförbundet) Chairman Lars-Åke Lagrell announced that no inspection of the trophy would be made, but changed his tune after consulting with secretary general Mikael Santoft.

“We can’t have any message in a trophy, so it’s very easy – if there is something in there, we will remove it. If not, we will tell the papers that it is as it was before,” Lagrell told The Local last month.

Hammarby has won the Allsvenskan only once in its long history, in 2001 – the same year the trophy was established.

Forssblad will drill a 4- to 5-millimetre hole into the ball on top of the 6-kilogram trophy with arthroscopy. A light source at the front will allow him to look inside the cup.

The trophy, named after former UEFA president Johansson, remains in Malmö, but the association hopes to examine it later this month.

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Zlatan statue toppled by vandals in Malmö

Vandals have pulled down a 2.7m statue of Malmö-born footballing legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic in apparent revenge at his decision to invest in a rival Stockholm team.

Zlatan statue toppled by vandals in Malmö
The statue tumbled to the ground after both feet were sawn off. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
At around 1.30am on Sunday morning, the attackers sawed both legs off the statue, after which it fell over, crushing the fence erected to protect it.
They then pulled a black Swedish national football jersey over the statue's head. 
On the back of the statue, and on the ground nearby, one of the vandals sprayed the words 'ta bort', meaning 'remove' or 'take away'. 
Thomas Söderberg, operations leader on watch for the Malmö Police, told the Aftonbladet newspaper that the damage had been discovered by police about an hour after it happened.  
“It was a patrol belonging to Operation Rimfront, and they needed to attend to another matter, so another patrol was sent there,” he said. 
The bronze statue, which weighs half a tonne, was unveiled outside Malmö's city stadium in October, with the city's most famous footballing scion flying in to attend. 
Ibrahimovic was born to a Bosnian muslim father and a Catholic Croat mother in Malmö. He grew up in the troubled district of Rosengård before making his mark as a youth player and achieving stardom with the local Malmö FF team. 
He was then signed up by The Netherlands' Ajaz, beginning an international career which saw him play at Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG,  Manchester United and LA Galaxy. He is now back at AC Milan for what is likely to be his swan song.
The statue has been vandalised several times since the footballer announced that he was taking a staking in Hammarby IF, a team based in Sweden's capital Stockholm, which is seen by many Malmö FF fans as its bitterest rival.
Shortly after the announcement in November, a noose was placed around the statue's neck, with the words “Cigani dö” (die gypsy) daubed in paint nearby.
The door of the player's Stockholm house was daubed with the word Judas, a reference to the apostle who betrayed Jesus. In the same attack, a can of surströmming, the notoriously smelly Swedish fermented herring dish, was poured over the doorstep.  
In December, the statue's nose was cut off, and the statue itself was splashed with silver paint. 
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT