AC Milan's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic reacts during the Italian Cup semi-final first leg against Juventus on February 13 AFP/Alberto PIZZOLI

STOCKHOLM - AFP
Football: Ibrahimovic launches fundraiser for Italy

AC Milan's evergreen star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic said Wednesday (Mar 18) he had launched a fundraiser for Italian hospitals battling the coronavirus pandemic.

"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," the former Swedish international wrote on Instagram.

"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," he said

Globally 200,680 people have been infected by the virus and 8,092 have died, according to the latest AFP tally.

After China, Italy is the hardest hit country, with 2,503 deaths from 31,506 cases.

"Together we can really help hospitals and doctors and nurses who selflessly work every day to save our lives," said the player.

"Because today we are the ones cheering for them! Let's together kick the Coronavirus away and win this match!

Signing off with his trademark bravado, he added: "And remember: if the virus don't go to Zlatan, Zlatan goes to the virus!"

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