Global superstar photographed with son of dictator

Written by Jeppe W

Oct.24 - 2023 9:40 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

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Swedish football legend Zlatan Ibrahimović has found himself amidst controversy after being photographed with Adam Kadyrov, the son of Chechen dictator Ramsan Kadyrov, during a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event in Abu Dhabi.

Ibrahimović, who retired from professional football in 2023, was present to support his friend, MMA star Khamzat Chimaev.

The event, which took place on Saturday, saw Chimaev facing off against Kamaru Usman in the octagon.

Following Chimaev's victorious outcome, a team photo was taken and shared on Instagram, featuring a smiling Zlatan Ibrahimović standing beside Adam Kadyrov.

Controversial Connections:

Ramsan Kadyrov, the Chechen dictator, has been accused by numerous human rights organizations of committing murders, persecuting his own citizens, and engaging in torture.

He is often referred to derogatorily as 'Putin’s lapdog' due to his close ties with the Russian president.

Kadyrov is also known for his keen interest in MMA, owning two MMA organizations.

His 15-year-old son, Adam, shares this interest and was present at the event to support Chimaev, a Chechen-born fighter who emigrated to Sweden at the age of 18 but now represents the United Arab Emirates.

Ibrahimović’s Involvement:

Zlatan’s presence and his interaction with Adam Kadyrov have raised eyebrows, especially given the latter's controversial background.

The photograph has ignited discussions about the responsibilities of public figures and the implications of their associations.

In a post-match caption, Khamzat Chimaev expressed his gratitude, stating, "I would like to say a big thank you to my team, we did it again."

However, the attention has swiftly shifted from Chimaev's victory to the unsettling image of Ibrahimović and Kadyrov.


While Zlatan Ibrahimović’s intentions for attending the event might have been rooted in friendship and support for Khamzat Chimaev, his photograph with Adam Kadyrov has sparked a wave of criticism and calls for awareness about the implications of such associations.

As the debate continues, it remains to be seen how this incident might impact Ibrahimović's reputation, particularly in the realm of human rights and political awareness.

See the Instagram post of Zlatan and the dictator's son here: