Zlatan Ibrahimovic's statue outside the Swedbank Stadion continues to bear the brunt of him investing in rivals Hammarby as Malmo fans tried to saw off the feet last evening.

Swedish police have to step in and put a fence around the statue, in case it collapses.

The Swedish star had the bronze sculpture erected in Malmo, where he began his illustrious career, in a tribute to his impact on Swedish football. But all ties were severed when Ibrahimovic purchased a 22.5% stake in Stockholm-based club Hammarby.

The same day, ​Malmo fans spraypainted the statue before setting it on fire, and placing a toilet seat around one of the arms. Ibrahimovic's residence in Stockholm was also targeted, with the word 'Judas' painted on the property.

And now fans have gone a step further as they look to air their views about Zlatan's affiliation with the rivals, with attempts made to saw off the statue's feet, while putting a rope around the neck. Police have since put barriers up to protect against vandalism.

Malmo was Ibrahimovic's first club, with the striker scoring 16 goals in 40 appearances before joining Ajax.

Malmo police spokesperson Eva-Gun Westford told ​BBC Sport an investigation had been opened and police would be looking at CCTV to identify the culprits.

"Someone tried to saw the feet," she said. 

"There is a risk now it could fall and we have placed a fence around it."

The statue's artist Peter Linde has appealed for people to stop the vandalism.

He told ​Sportbladet: "People act like they're at war, but this isn't war, it's about football. It is so insane that one cannot respect that Zlatan is a free man.

"I want the statue to be repaired and restored and for those who are doing this to realize how stupid they are."

The 38-year-old is currently a free agent after leaving LA Galaxy last month.