AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic set up an online fundraiser yesterday to help hospitals at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy, with the target of raising 1 million euros ($1.09 million).
According to the website accepting donations, Ibrahimovic donated 100,000 euros ($109,000) to the fund. It quickly raised further 15,700 euros ($17,100).
The 38-year-old Ibrahimovic rejoined Milan in January from the Los Angeles Galaxy. He also played for Italian clubs Inter Milan and Juventus.
“Italy has always given me so much and, in this dramatic moment, I want to give back even more to this country that I love,” Ibrahimovic said in a video message to launch the fundraiser.
The former Sweden international added that he was counting “on the generosity of my colleagues, of all professional athletes and of those who want to make a small or large donation according to their possibilities, to kick this virus away.”
The site states that all the money raised will be “directly donated to Humanitas to help strengthen the intensive care and emergency units of Milano, Bergamo, Castellanza and Torino’s hospitals.”
Italy has been the second hardest-hit country with more than 31,500 cases of the virus and 2,503 deaths.
Ibrahimovic, known for his brash personality and outspoken comments, often refers to himself in the third person. He ended his message by saying: “And remember, if the virus doesn’t go to Zlatan, Zlatan goes to the virus.” [AP]
Domestic associations then face the difficult call of whether to let this season roll on until it can be completed at a later date, use the current standings to call the season to a halt or even declare the campaign null and void.
“If there are games to be played after June 30, our opinion is that all teams can play all their games, so that league position is earned on the pitch.”