STOCKHOLM: A statue of Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be erected in his honour after he was named Sweden’s top player for a 10th successive year.
The 36-year-old striker received his ‘Guldbollen‘ – Golden Ball – award on Monday at a ceremony in Stockholm. The statue will be placed outside Stockholm’s Friends Arena, where Ibrahimovic scored four goals against England in 2012.
Ibrahimovic said: “It’s huge for me. Most people do not get a statue until they have passed away.” Other noted football statues around the world include Ferenc Puskas, Pele, Lev Yashin and Eusebio.
The Swede has been the pre-eminent Swedish footballer of the past decade, winning the award every year since 2007 – as well as 2005.
“After all the hard work for 15 years in the national team – and 20 in my club career – it feels like it is appreciated,” added Ibrahimovic, who joined United in the summer from French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
“The guy from Rosengard [a district of Malmo where the majority of residents come from an immigrant background] will get his own statue in the capital. A big thank you to everyone.”
Swedish federation president Karl-Erik Nilsson said: “The statue is a way for us to thank Ibrahimovic for his amazing efforts for Swedish football, but it is also a symbol for everyone to always be reminded and inspired by all he has done.”