Soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic has backed world’s number 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic over the vaccine row that saw Djokovic kicked out of Australia.
The 20 time grand slam winning Serbian was deported earlier this month and prevented from defending his Australian Open title despite a judge initially ruling that the government was wrong to try to block him entering the country.
Swedish international Ibrahimovic, who is vaccinated himself, came out in defense of his friend, speaking out against compulsory vaccine mandates during an interview with national broadcaster SVT.
“The person who takes the vaccine does so because they believe that it is effective against the disease. I got vaccinated because I think it protects me, not to be able to play football. These are two different things,” Ibrahimovic said.
“You should not be forced to get vaccinated to be able to go to work,” the 40-year-old striker added. “Getting vaccinated for health reasons is not the same as getting vaccinated for a tennis tournament.”
Ibrahimovic is a prominent figure given that he is one of the most prolific goal-scorers of his generation and has been able to stay at the top of his game beyond the usual retirement age for soccer players.
Known simply to his legions of adoring fans as ‘Zlatan’, the AC Milan forward previously slammed LeBron James for using his platform to create political division in society.
Following Djokovic’s ejection from the Australian Open, other majors such as the French Open and Wimbledon have indicated they could also punish unvaccinated players by banning them from competing.
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