Zlatan has fallen

The Zlatan statue at Malmö Stadium has been cut down to size, 

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...literally the size of nothing. Left behind man high fencing is only a large black plastic sheet duct taped to the stone foundation bearing his name. Next to the sorry sight a kicked over and snuffed out grave-candle. The ground is sprayed in blue (the nuance of the football club MFF) “ta bort” (take it away).

So how did it get to this? The the big man himself was “home” (between LA and Milan) for the unveiling on October 8, 2029. A crowd of fans had joined to see the homage to Sweden’s best known football player, who had conquered turfs in The Netherlands, Italy, UK and US as well. He was soon off and less than hundred days later so was his bronze image.

A month and a half later it became known that Zlatan had bought a 25% minority stake in Hammarby IF, a competing club based in Stockholm. Perhaps it was a part of his LA Galaxy deal as the same company AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group) owns parts of both clubs. There has always been a (not always friendly) rivalry between Stockholm and Malmö. So this did not sit well with the Malmö FF fans and a few extremists doused the bare-chested bronze with white paint and hanged a toilet seat off his stretched out arm. A fence came up to keep people out. Did not help and soon thereafter someone tried to cut it off by the ankles. Reparations took place and left shiny new bronze on his feet. So one night at the end of December the fence was scaled again and the nose was cut off the statue.

The artist and others cried for better (24/7) security, for which there were no funds. Within ten more nights the statue was lying sideways off the foundation. Not unlike the downed Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad. A dark-blue shirt printed Sweden had been wrapped around the statues head. The bronze was shortly thereafter wrapped up and carted off to a city storage facility leaving the fence around the black plastic wrapped stone base. The municipal authorities will decide what to do next, some day……

The news made it around the world and has remained first page fodder for the local paper Sydsvenskan where the print ink have carried interpretations of the vandalism from racism to treason. The speculations are many but at the end of the day the answer will not be known until the culprit(s) are arrested. This is not likely to happen in a Sweden where such brazen actions leave most just wondering why? Sadly Malmö have been blunted enough by bigger crimes so this will likely fall into the cracks of history only to remain a small footnote.

At the stadium the other day a father with his young son stopped by the fence and commented that “it is gone” before pulling up a smartphone, unlocking a scattered electric scooter to find something more exciting.

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