(Reuters) – Zlatan Ibrahimovic has kept alive the possibility, if only slightly, of playing for Swedish club Hammarby if and when their season starts after the coronavirus pandemic.
The 38-year-old striker, who joined AC Milan in December, is training with the club in which he bought a stake last year while the Serie A season remains suspended.
It has raised hopes among fans that Ibrahimovic could pull on the green and white of the Stockholm club.
“I have a contract with Milan at the moment and we have to see how things finish there, if they finish,” Ibrahimovic said in an interview with Dplay Sweden on Friday.
“There are no official decisions yet. I’ve said all the time I want to play football for as long as possible and then you never know what happens in the future.”
Pushed further, Ibrahimovic, whose link with Hammarby has sparked anger from fans of Malmo with whom he began his career, said he would honour his six-month contract with Milan.
“I have to go back to Italy as it’s in my contract, as a professional you have to keep what you’ve signed,” he said.
“There are a lot of things going on and I don’t know. I mean who knew the coronavirus would come into the picture and turn the world upside down in two weeks?
“We’ll see what happens. At the moment it’s nothing I think of because I have a contract with Milan. I want to play as long as I can. Will I play in (Swedish championship) Allsvenskan? I don’t know. I’ve always said I won’t play there but I’ve said other things as well that have changed so we’ll see what happens.”
Ibrahimovic, whose career has taken him to Europe’s biggest clubs including Ajax Amsterdam, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Paris St Germain and Manchester United, said he was disappointed with the reaction to his relationship with Hammarby from Malmo fans.
A statue in his honour outside Malmo’s stadium has been repeatedly vandalised.
“It’s sad. As I said, those who know they know, they would never have done anything like this because they are grateful,” he said. “Those who want attention and want media to write about it because they think it’s cool, this is on a baby level.
“We’re not on that level, we’re bigger than that. The statue was what it was and the statue being gone doesn’t mean my history is gone. My history remains forever.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)