He may be one of the biggest names in world football, but it was the names of the 50 people mysteriously tattooed to Zlatan Ibrahimović's body that gained all the attention after his goal celebration yesterday.
The Sweden and Paris St Germain (PSG) striker was booked for removing his shirt after netting with just two minutes played in the match against Caen, but almost 800 million people were responsible for Ibrahimović's yellow card.
The self proclaimed 'god of football' has put his love of tattoos and global stardom to good use to highlight world hunger, working in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP)for a project called '805 Million Names'.
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW SPORT
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more
The match against Caen was one of huge importance as he took off his shirt after scoring to reveal 50 new names temporarily tattooed to his upper body to support the WFP. Ibrahimović played in Saturday’s match with the names of people such as Carmen, Mariko, Antoine, Sawsan, Chheuy, Lida, Siatta, Rahma, Yaae who receive food assistance tattooed temporarily on his body to highlight hunger, he was then booked for his celebration.
"I had 50 temporary tattoos on my body. They were the names of real people who suffer from starvation in the world. Wherever I go people recognise me, call my name, cheer for me,” said Ibrahimović. “But there are names no one cares to remember. That no one cheers for: the 805 million people suffering from hunger in the world today.”
“I have supporters all over the world. From now on I want this support to go to the people who suffer from hunger, they are the real champions. So whenever you hear my name, you will think of their names,” he told a news conference launching the campaign at PSG headquarters in Paris.
The campaign is built around the 50 names symbolically representative of the 80 million people currently assisted by World Food Programme in crises in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Central African Republic, the Ebola-affected countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, as well as in Bolivia, Cambodia, and Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Each one of the 805 million people suffering from hunger in the world has a name, a voice, a story to share, Zlatan accepted the challenge and wished to carry their stories on his own skin so that the world does not forget them.” said Marina Catena, WFP Director for France and the Principality of Monaco.