Fans in Malmo vandalised a statue of Zlatan Ibrahimovic after they got to know that the star striker had acquired a stake in Stockholm club Hammarby. Ibrahimovic’s football career began in Malmo and after signing a deal with rival club, the 38-year-old’s Malmo FF appears to be in tatters.

Outside the stadium in Stockholm, angry fans scorched the 3.5 metre long statue with flared and wrote racist messages on the ground. Another angry Malmo fan then covered up the head of the statue.

“Of the reactions I have sent to me so far, I have not heard anyone who thinks this is good. Everyne is extremely critical. Some are disappointed, some are angry and some think it is idiotic,” Kaveh Hosseinpour, vice chairman of Malmo supporters’ group MFF, told Fotbollskanalen

“He has probably lost his grip on what he means to Malmo. He misunderstands his position a little when he says that Malmo will be happy for his sake. There is no one in Malmo who runs around in an LA Galaxy shirt and plays with Ibrahimovic on his back. That statue will no longer matter now, considering where it stands and what he does now. He actively wants another club to be better than the club that made him what he is.

Ibrahimovic, Sweden’s leading goal-scorer with 62 goals in 116 matches, had acquired almost 25 percent shares in Hammarby, who finished third in the Swedish League Championship. The statue, which weighs near about 500 kilograms and is nearly nine foot long, was unveiled in October in front of Ibrahimovic himself.

“Several are said to have vandalised it and sprayed it with paint,” said police spokesman Jimmy Morin.

Announcing the deal, Ibrahimovic said he intended to make Hammarby the biggest club in Scandinavia, angering many of his former fans at Malmo FF, where he first made his name before a trophy-laden career in Netherlands, Italy, Spain, England, France and the U.S.

“This has nothing to do with MFF. When it comes to the club, we talk about the footballer Zlatan. I think they in Malmo respect this. I have a good relationship with MFF and have had it all year. But this has nothing to do with me as a football player. I think those in Malmo are happy for me,” Hosseinpour added.

The former Manchester United, Juventus, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain player is a free agent after leaving LA Galaxy this month.