Blog - The Toe Poke, LA Galaxy, Leagues, Major League Soccer, Story, Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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As if his ego needed massaging any further, LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was afforded the honor of having a statue of himself unveiled in his hometown in Sweden on Tuesday afternoon.

Fans flocked to the Stadion in Malmo to see the man himself do the honors as the bronze effigy, commissioned by the Swedish football association of the country’s all-time record goal scorer, was revealed to the public for the first time.

Some four years in the making, the sculpture is the work of veteran Swedish artist Peter Linde and stands nearly 9 feet tall (2.7 meters) while weighing approximately half a ton.

“When you come to New York you have the Statue of Liberty, when you come to Sweden you have the Statue of Zlatan,” he wrote on Instagram in 2016 while posing with an early version.

As a special nod to his humble roots, Ibrahimovic on Tuesday also granted free access to the unveiling ceremony to all school kids from the local area.

However, it wasn’t long before Zlatan’s gesture was nipped in the bud by Malmo school councilor Sara Wettergren, who was forced to dash plans to attend the ceremony and confirm that the Galaxy striker doesn’t have the authority to excuse students from their classes.

Regardless, it didn’t prevent hundreds of fans from gathering outside the stadium as the statue was unveiled before Ibrahimovic addressed the crowd from the adjacent stage.

It’s certainly imposing, but quite why the Zlatan statue has barely any clothes on is a little unclear. Still, the man himself seemed to be happy enough…

Italy unveil new third kit

Italy added a brand new shirt to their famously stylish catalogue with the launch of a third kit for 2019-20.

In a break from tradition, the jersey is green and pays tribute to the young emerging stars currently helping to usher in a new era for the Azzurri, coming after the previous crop failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Indeed, the latest national squad contains no fewer than 12 players age 25 or younger — the youngest being 20-year-old Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo.

The “Renaissance” kit is also directly inspired by the green jersey worn by Italy only once, during a friendly win over Argentina in front of 80,000 fans at the Stadio Olimpico back in 1954.

Whitby through in FA Cup — with goalkeeper up front

Considerable congratulations are due to Whitby Town, who battled to a win in the FA Cup on Monday night despite the odds firmly being stacked against them.

Due to face Gloucester City in the third qualifying round, Whitby came into the game with just 14 fit players to pick from.

Thus, having found themselves desperately short, the Seasiders were forced to include three goalkeepers in their depleted matchday squad.

However, the rag-tag team somehow clicked and the auxiliary defender-turned-striker went on to score two goals in a remarkable 3-1 victory despite being joined up front with one of the spare keepers.

And with that, Whitby went sailing through to the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup for the first time in 16 years. They will now face Stourbridge at home for a place in the First Round Proper, from which stage games can be streamed live on ESPN+.

What a night.

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