Zlatan Ibrahimovic has made his first move into football club ownership by agreeing a deal with sports and live entertainment company AEG to acquire 50 per cent of its stake in Allsvenskan team Hammarby in his native Sweden.
AEG Sweden has sold half of its interest in the top-flight club to the 38-year-old, which in turn makes Ibrahimovic a part owner of Hammarby, holding just under a quarter of the club’s shares. Ibrahimovic’s agreement with AEG comes after Sweden’s all-time leading goalscorer recently concluded his second and final season at AEG’s Major League Soccer team, the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Hammarby finished third in the 2019 Allsvenskan, behind Djurgårdens and Ibrahimović’s first club Malmö, qualifying for the 2020-21 Uefa Europa League in the process.
Dan Beckerman, president and chief executive of AEG, added: “Hammarby is one of the most historic clubs in Swedish football and we believe that adding Zlatan Ibrahimovic, one of the world’s most respected and experienced players, will create additional opportunities for the club.
“AEG will continue to hold our remaining ownership shares in Hammarby and support the club’s operations and development, but now it will be in collaboration with one of the most knowledgeable and iconic players of all time.”
AEG Sweden held a 47-per-cent shareholding in the club before the agreement with the former Sweden captain.
Ibrahimovic started his professional career at Malmö before moving to Dutch Eredivisie club Ajax in July 2001. He is still revered at his home town club, where a golden statue of Ibrahimović at its Tele2 Arena was unveiled last month. His decision to partner with a league rival has led to protests from fans.
Ibrahimovic has stated his intention to turn Hammarby into one of Scandinavia’s leading clubs and said in a statement: “Hammarby is a great club, with passionate supporters and a respected history in Stockholm and throughout Sweden. I am excited for the opportunity to continue my relationship with AEG while supporting one of the most interesting and influential clubs in Sweden.”