Nose from Zlatan Ibrahimovic's vandalised statue being worn as necklace, Swedish TV personality claims

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A TV personality in Sweden has claimed that the nose from Zlatan Ibrahimovic's vandalised statue is being used as a necklace.

Back in October of last year, the city of Malmo unveiled a gigantic golden tribute to Ibrahimovic, one of their most famous sons.

It then took mere days before the statue was first vandalised, and a couple of months later it was toppled completely when local ultras took umbrage at Ibrahimovic purchasing a 25% stake in Malmo's league rivals, Hammarby.

Since being erected, the 3.5 metre (11-foot-6) sculpture, which was commissioned by the Swedish FA, has been spray-painted, set on fire, and even had a toilet seat hurled over its outstretched arm by disgruntled townsfolk.

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However, perhaps the most infamous raid occurred in December, when an unknown vandal clambered up the statue and sawed off Zlatan's bronze nose.

The nose has been missing ever since despite repeated pleas for its return, but now finally a new lead may have come to light if John Taylor, a television personality in Sweden, is proved correct.

"I would like to point out that I do not support vandalising public art, at the same time I understand why they did it," Taylor told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, where his claims were first reported. "I also know where Zlatan's nose is. I can say that. I know it is in Malmo."

A resident of the city in question and a huge football fan, Taylor is also a presenter on the show "Tradgardstider" ("Garden Times") which airs on Swedish TV network SVT.

"I don't know where it is right now, but I know it was seen at a party around New Year," he added to Aftonbladet. "I know that it is in Malmo and that it is around someone's neck. It's a necklace now!"

Taylor also insisted he played no part in the nose's removal, joking that he would have used "real tools and done the job properly."

Taylor insists that the tale of Zlatan's nose is not an April Fool's prank and that he's had the sighting corroborated by multiple people.

"A friend saw it a party at new year, on a chain, around someone's neck," he told ESPN. "Second-hand news confirmed by two sources. Otherwise I wouldn't have mentioned it."

Despite being born in Herefordshire, England, and raised a Sheffield Wednesday fan, Taylor admits that Malmo have long since become his first club after relocating to Sweden in 1992, investing in his first season ticket not long thereafter.

Ibrahimovic's decision to buy shares in rival side Hammarby sparked condemnation of the one-time club hero among Malmo supporters, who were as bemused by the announcement as they were incensed.

"For my own part, I couldn't care less what he does with his money, but to invest in a team like Hammarby is like investing in Crystal Palace -- no offence to Palace, who I actually like a bit," Taylor continued. "It's a joke. And it's all just very absurd."

Asked if the developments have affected his love for Zlatan, Taylor was magnanimous toward the striker he'd watched from the terraces during the young Ibrahimovic's prodigiously exciting debut seasons in Sweden.

"The man was a genius," Taylor said. "I know he always got castigated for not performing particularly well when playing in England but his record... the goals he scored, backheeling it in in the last minute for Sweden against Italy from two metres up in the air... Apart from [Zinedine] Zidane, he was definitely the player for me."

However, rather than Ibrahimovic, there is still one player more vehemently revered and beloved among all fans of the Blue Ones.

"[Markus] Rosenberg is 1,000 times more important in terms of what he's done for the club: league titles, two Champions League group stages and Europa League the last two years," Taylor said. "A real leader on the pitch and a gentleman off it. Just destroyed all our rivals in Sweden time after time, like a mini golden age."

Taylor does not know how likely it is that the nose will be reunited with the statue. He said: "I really couldn't say. It really is just a nose hanging on a chain! I reckon if somebody put that image on a shirt, it would sell!

"We [the Malmo fans who heard about the necklace] didn't really care as Zlatan has already sold out, selling everything imaginable."

Asked whether he'd since heard any rumours as to the current whereabouts of the nose necklace, Taylor deliberately remained coy.

"The kicker came this morning when my mate sent me a text saying his daughter's friend's new boyfriend has it," he replied. "I thought that was quite funny... he could sell it for big money!"