Kick the Virus Away – Ibrahimovic begins coronavirus crowdfunding

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is spearheading an initiative to raise €1 million (£920,000/$1.1m) in a bid to improve hospitals dealing with the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy.

The pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 8,000 people worldwide, with Italy having been particularly hard hit by the crisis and the country coming to a virtual standstill.

Former Sweden international Ibrahimovic, who has spent seven years of his storied career playing in the country with Juventus, Inter and in a previous stint with Milan, says he wants to do his bit to help the effort.

"Italy has always given me so much, and in this dramatic moment, I want to give back even more to this country I love," the 38-year-old explained in a video posted on Twitter.

"I decided, together with the people who are working with me, to create a fundraiser for Humanitas hospitals and to use my communication power to spread the message wider. It’s a serious issue and we need concrete help that’s not just about a video.

"I count 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. Together we can really help hospitals and doctors and nurses who selflessly work every day to save our lives, because today we are the ones cheering for them."

His GoFundMe page details what he wishes to achieve with the campaign.

“Let's kick the CoronaVirus together!” it says.

“In this moment of extreme emergency that Italy is facing we have decided to organize a fundraiser that will be directly donated to Humanitas to help strengthen Intensive Care and First Aid at the hospitals of Rozzano / Milan, Bergamo, Castellanza (VA) and Turin .

“With a small donation you will contribute to the purchase of the necessary materials and equipment: 

- overalls, masks, gowns and individual protective devices;
- lung ventilators;
- monitoring systems;
- telemetry.

“With everyone's help we will win this game!”

Ibrahimovic moved back to Milan in January following a successful two-year stint with the LA Galaxy.