Zlatan Ibrahimovic has a new club. But if you’re one of those who’s been eagerly awaiting news of the next stop in his illustrious playing career, it’s probably not what you had in mind.
The superstar striker has purchased a 50% stake in the Swedish branch of AEG, which means that he’s acquired a minority share of Hammarby IF, the top-flight club that is AEG’s main property in his home country.
“Hammarby is a fantastic club with passionate supporters and is well respected in both Stockholm and Sweden,” said Ibrahimovic in a statement. “I have always liked the club and its fans, and I’m also impressed with the club’s achievements over the last years, both on and off the pitch. To be part of and to assist Hammarby in its progress feels both fun and exciting.”
It’s something of a heel turn for Ibra considering that he began his professional career with Malmo, one of Hammarby’s Allsvenskan counterparts, and was recently immortalized with a statue in his image outside Malmo’s home stadium. That statue was defaced upon the release of the news.
Zlatan announced he's become a part owner of Hammarby, and Malmö fans are NOT taking it well. 🚽 pic.twitter.com/Bu9ZHir7eI— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 27, 2019
The two clubs ran neck-and-neck this season, both finishing the 2019 league campaign on 65 points, Malmo taking second place via their superior goal differential while Hammarby came in third; both earned qualification for the Europa League’s first qualifying round. Djurgardens won the league in a photo finish, finishing on 66 points.
Ibrahimovic, 38, starred for the LA Galaxy – who are owned by AEG – over the past two MLS seasons and is currently mulling his next playing destination, with reports linking him to the likes of AC Milan, Bologna and Tottenham Hotspur. It’s unclear whether he could potentially play for Hammarby; he has previously expressed interest in playing for Malmo again before he retires.
“It is too early to go into detail concerning what Zlatan’s contribution to Hammarby will look like, but of course we see great potential in his partnership,” said Hammarby chairman Richard von Yxkull.