Vandals have tried to topple a statue of striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic outside Malmo Stadium in Sweden by sawing at its feet, prompting police to erect a fence around it, the BBC has reported.

The statue has been a target of angry fans at Ibrahimovic's hometown club ever since Sweden's record international goalscorer announced he had acquired a stake in a rival team.

Ibrahimovic made his name at Malmo FF before a trophy-laden career abroad but the announcement that he had taken a nearly 25% stake in Stockholm club Hammarby led Malmo fans to vent their ire on the 3.5-metre tall statue outside their club.

Fans scorched the statue with flares and sprayed racist messages on the ground nearby hours after the announcement on 27 November.

A Malmo police spokeswoman told the BBC that vandals had placed a rope around the neck of the statue in the early hours of Thursday morning and tried to saw through its feet.

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