MILAN: AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic set up an online fundraiser on Wednesday to help hospitals at the center of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy, with the target of raising €1 million ($1.09 million).
According to the website accepting donations, Ibrahimovic donated €100,000 to the fund. It quickly raised a further €15,700.
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.
Ibrahimović, 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 don’t go to Zlatan, Zlatan goes to the virus.”