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ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC

IN PICTURES: Swedish football fans sell Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s nose on eBay

A fallen statue, a home town betrayal and three casts of an amputated nose. Fans of Malmö club MFF are selling Ibrahimovic's nose on eBay in a protest against modern football. How did we get here?

IN PICTURES: Swedish football fans sell Zlatan Ibrahimovic's nose on eBay
Zlatan Ibrahimovic's statue in Malmö painted white and with its nose cut off. Malmö football fans are now selling casts of the nose on eBay. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Anonymous football fans are auctioning three copies of Zlatan’s amputated nose on auction site eBay, stating on their website, vararnasan.se (“where is the nose.se”) that the aim of the initiative is to “draw attention to the problems in Swedish and international football”.

A cast of the Ibrahimovic statue’s amputated nose for sale on eBay. The current bid at time of writing was $500, almost 5000 kronor. Photo: Screenshot from eBay.

But how did they get a cast of Zlatan’s amputated nose in the first place?

The story begins in 2019, when a statue of Malmö-born footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic was raised outside Malmö FF’s stadium.

Ibrahimovic, who has played for top international clubs such as Manchester United, Ajax, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain as well as Sweden’s national team, started his career at Malmö FF in 1999.

When Ibrahimovic’s statue was unveiled on October 8th, 2019, fans flocked to Malmö stadium to catch a glimpse of the much-loved football star returning to his roots.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic poses by his statue outside Malmö stadium in 2019. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
 
However, the statue didn’t last long. Just over a month later, on November 27th, Ibrahimovic announced that he had become part-owner of Hammarby IF, a rival club based in Stockholm. In an interview with Aftonbladet’s sport section, Sportbladet, Ibrahimovic said that he “will help Hammarby become the best in Scandinavia”.
 
Ibrahimovic was convinced that the people of his hometown who had just raised a statue in his honour would welcome his decision to become part owner of a rival club, telling Aftonbladet that he “knows they won’t be disappointed”, and that “Malmö are happy for me”. 
 
Unfortunately for the footballer, he was mistaken. On the same day Zlatan made the announcement he was becoming part-owner of Hammarby, the statue had its head covered with a plastic bag and a toilet ring hung on its arm.
 

Ibrahimovic’s statue is decorated with a toilet seat and covered with a plastic bag. A sign at his feet reads “to be moved immediately to Söder(malm) in Stockholm”, where Hammarby IF are based. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT
 
A few days later, on December 2nd, Ibrahimovic’s shorts were painted red and the word “JUDAS!” was sprayed on the base of his statue.
 

Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
 
Multiple attempts were made to topple the statue, resulting in cuts on its feet and legs. 
 

A passerby takes photos of the statue’s damaged feet and legs. It was placed behind a fence to protect it from further damage. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
 
Finally, on December 22nd 2020, the statue was sprayed with silver paint and its nose was cut off. The location of the amputated nose is still unknown, two years later.
 
On January 21st, 2020, the statue was removed and has been stored in a hidden location since.
 

The base of the Zlatan statue awaits removal on January 21st, 2020. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
 
Malmö FF fan and SVT profile John Taylor told Aftonbladet in April 2020 that he “knows where Zlatan’s nose is”, adding that “it’s in Malmö” and that it was “at a party around New Years… around someone’s neck”, but its current location remains a mystery.
The football supporters selling casts of the nose are anonymous, describing themselves to newspaper Sydsvenskan as “some anonymous Malmö FF supporters who want to lift the discussion of football’s commercialisation and the problems surrounding this”.
 
They told Sydsvenskan that they don’t know where the original nose is, writing that “when the nose was making its rounds in Malmö, we took our chance to try and make something positive out of the situation, by making a cast”.
On their website, they state that Ibrahimovic “chose money at the expense of love for his hometown and the club that raised him”.
 
“His choice became his downfall, from hero to unwanted.”
 
Proceeds from the sale of the noses will “go to purposes that promote the work against modern and commercial football, where the love of clubs and sports is at the centre”.
 
One thing is for certain though: the timing of the nose auction is no coincidence. Malmö FF and Hammarby IF are due to meet on Thursday May 24th to battle it out in the Swedish Cup Final.

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RUSSIA

Sweden’s ex-NBA star leaves Moscow team

Sweden's ex-NBA star Jonas Jerebko has quit CSKA Moscow, the team said on Saturday, less than three months after his controversial decision to join the organisation amid international condemnation of Russia.

Sweden's ex-NBA star leaves Moscow team

The Swedish basketball federation cut Jerebko from the national squad at the end of March, a day after he joined CSKA Moscow, saying his decision was “against the federation’s values and our very clear stance towards Russia” over its invasion of Ukraine.

CSKA Moscow wrote on its website on Saturday that “the transition to CSKA turned out to be difficult for Jonas in many ways”.

The Swedish federation said Jerebko would however not be returning to the national squad.

His decision to leave CSKA “doesn’t in any way change the decision we made when he signed with them”, the head of the federation Fredrik Joulamo told Swedish news agency TT.

Jerebko, 35, is the only Swede to have played in the NBA, where he spent 10 seasons with the Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors between 2009 and 2019.

Jerebko last played for Sweden in a World Cup qualifier against Croatia at the end of February, during which the federation and players showed their support for Ukraine.

Prior to signing for CSKA, Jerebko was without a club after having finished his contract with Khimki Moscow in 2021.

CSKA Moscow have been excluded from the Euroleague because of Russia’s invasion.
  

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