Sweden and AC Milan ace Zlatan Ibrahimovic has remarkably been accused of shooting a lion in South Africa in 2011 and then importing its skin, skull and jaw to his homeland.
The veteran striker, who has often likened himself to the wild animal over the years, has been criticised in his native country for the act.
Swedish outlet Expressen allege that Ibrahimovic gained a hunting license and, less than a year after, shot and killed the male lion in the wild.
The creature has been officially classified as “vulnerable” by the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.
Hunting lions in South Africa is legal, provided the correct permits have been given.
As part of their explosive expose, Expressen examined a total of 82 hunters from Sweden who have looked to take home a trophy.
They claim from a source that the lion shot by Ibrahimovic spent over a year in an enclosure before it was released – elements of its carcass were reportedly then shipped back to his Malmo home.
The Swedish newspaper contacted Ibrahimovic for comment but received no reply.
The former Manchester United, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain frontman notably has a large tattoo of a roaring lion etched across his back.
Those who carry out trophy hunting are said to choose top category animals, such as a lion, when heading to safaris.
There are multiple organisations across Africa which provide the experience for rich people with an interest from abroad.
“Canned” hunting, where an animal is placed in an enclosed area with no chance of escape, is banned in South Africa – but captive-bred lion hunting is permitted.
A report from the International Fund for Animal Welfare says that between 2004 and 2014, 1.7 million animals were killed for their trophy.