Artist Peter Linde (right) on stage with Zlatan Ibrahimovic (left) before the statue was unveiled in October. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
The Italian city is where the footballer played at the peak of his career, representing both AC Milan and its bitter rival Inter Milan, and it is where he is returning this year for his footballing swan song at the former.
“Stick it in Milan, that would be a good place. There they're happy for him, and not so idiotic as they are here,” Peter Linde told the Aftonbladet newspaper on Sunday.
Linde said, however, that he felt that it would be sad to give in to what he called “the forces of stupidity”. “Most of all, I'd like to think that we shouldn't move it, but I understand that perhaps we must,” he said.
At 1.30am on Sunday, vandals sawed off both feet of the 2.7m bronze statue, causing it to topple over. The attack, like previous attempts to vandalise the statue, appears to have come as revenge against Ibrahimovic for his decision to invest in Hammarby IF, the Stockholm football team which is one of Malmö FF's bitterest rivals.
The statue has since been moved to a secret location for repair.
In an interview with Italian journalists on January 2, the Swedish striker said that for him Milan was “home”.
“I've always said that Milan is my home and finally I'm back,” he said, in halting Italian, shortly before holding his first press conference with AC Milan.
According to Milan's trainer Stefano Pioli, the Swedish star seemed “completely unaffected” by the attack.
“I spoke with Zlatan less than five minutes ago and we spoke on other things, nothing at all about the statue,” Pioli said at a press conference on Sunday. “For me he seemed very calm and unaffected by what has happened.”
Ibrahimovic first moved to Milan back in 2006 when he signed four-year contract with Inter Milan, ending his stint three years later as the Italian league's top goal scorer.
He returned in August 2010 to play for AC Milan, initially on loan from Barcelona, ending his time as the league's top goal scorer, before moving to Paris Saint Germain in 2012.
Håkan Sjöstrand, the General Secretary of the Swedish Football Association, said that he was in discussions with both LInde and Malmö's city government over the statue's future.
“The statue first needs to be repaired and then it's up to Malmö's city government which owns the statue,” he said.
Ibrahimovic was relegated to the bench for his first game back at AC Milan against Sampdoria on Monday, with Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek starting ahead of the former Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain player at the San Siro.