News of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's deal to become part-owner of Swedish club Hammarby hasn't gone over well in his hometown of Malmo.
A statue honoring the Swedish forward outside of Malmo's stadium was vandalized Wednesday, with video on social media showing multiple people setting the monument on fire with flares. The effigy was also spray-painted and had a toilet seat placed on it.
"Several people are said to have vandalized the statue and sprayed it with paint," local police spokesman Jimmy Morin said, according to ESPN, adding an investigation is underway.
Although it's unclear who's responsible for the vandalism, fans of Ibrahimovic's boyhood club Malmo are believed to have participated in response to his partnership with rivals Hammarby. It was confirmed Wednesday that Ibrahimovic, who began his career at Malmo, has acquired a 25% stake in the Stockholm-based club.
Malmo supporters, whom Ibrahimovic claimed wouldn't be upset by Wednesday's news, have started an online petition to have the statue removed, according to ESPN.
"A betrayal became a betrayal and a provocation," Kaveh Hosseinpour, vice-chairman of Malmo's official supporters' group, told Steve Douglas of The Associated Press. "So he basically stuck a knife in our backs, and then he came along with a sword and chopped off our heads."
Hosseinpour added: "The statue is completely worthless now, just a piece of junk. The best way to solve that was if it was removed and put somewhere in Stockholm or something.
"Every game we go to, we are going to pass Zlatan knowing that there is a statue of an investor in Hammarby, not the statue of the football player Zlatan Ibrahimovic anymore."
Ibrahimovic is currently a free agent following the end of his contract with the LA Galaxy. Recent reports have linked him with a return to Milan.