Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he always knew he would “take over the world” and spoke of his delight at the Swedish Football Association’s plans to build a statue of him that will reside outside the Friends Arena in Stockholm.
The Manchester United striker has proved one of Sweden’s greatest exports, winning league titles in Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France.
The exuberant striker also enjoyed a distinguished international career before his retirement after Euro 2016 and is Sweden’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Ibrahimovic will now be immortalised by the monument and he is delighted by the gesture.
“I come from a small area in Malmo – the ghetto, they call it – and I get a statue in the capital city of Sweden,” Ibrahimovic told United’s official website.
“I would not have believed it because I felt different. I did not feel like the other ones, where I came from, because of my background. But I believed that I would take over the world, that is for sure.
“Normally you get a statue when you pass away, but I am alive. It is incredible. I am super happy. I am honoured. Sweden is my country and whatever I do, I represent Sweden. I will always go back there.
“I cannot describe the words; the whole career I went through, it has been a big adventure with many things happening and this is the outcome. I get a statue. I cannot ask for more.”
Ibrahimovic’s statue will be designed by artist Peter Linde and will be a 2.7 metre version of the striker with his arms aloft, although he would have preferred a different design.
“It is like a gesture or a movement from a game, a typical Zlatan movement,” he continued.
“I have gone through it, I have been a little bit critical because I wanted the statue to be like me: massive, powerful, magic, wow! All these combinations I wanted to get into it, but he has done a great job – he is a great artist. He has his way of seeing things and he made it like a symbol that would live forever.”
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