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Statue of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to stay in Malmo despite repeated attacks

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The much-vandalised statue of Zlatan Ibrahimovic is staying in Malmo.

Where, exactly, remains to be seen.

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Committee members from the Swedish city's council met Monday to discuss proposals from local citizens about where to move the statue of the footballer from its current location outside the stadium.

The 500-kilogram (1,100-pound), 3-meter (9-foot-10) bronze statue has been repeatedly attacked since Ibrahimovic become a part-owner in Hammarby, a Stockholm-based team and a rival of the striker's boyhood club of Malmo. The most recent act of vandalism saw the statue cut off at the ankles, leading to it being removed in early January for repairs and put in a secret location.

"The sculpture stays in Malmo," said Frida Trollmyr, the city's deputy mayor for culture and sports. "Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a son of Malmo, this is where he belongs."

Trollmyr said there would now be a process to determine the specific location where the statue will be placed. A final decision will be made in June.

Among the 29 proposals from local citizens was one, supported by nearly 250 people, that suggested the statue be moved to the Tele2 Arena, Hammarby's home stadium in Stockholm.

Another, supported by a petition that had nearly 8,700 signatures, called for the statue to be moved away from the local stadium because "to have the owner of a rival club there is provocative and outrageous."

Ibrahimovic, one of Sweden's greatest ever players, plays for Italian club AC Milan. He has been training with Hammarby during the coronavirus crisis while Serie A is suspended.