Rome (AFP)

"You are not Zlatan, do not challenge the virus": AC Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovic promotes respect for distancing rules and the wearing of masks, in a video released Thursday by the Lombardy region.

Himself tested positive for Covid-19 a few weeks ago, the current top scorer in the Italian Football Championship has agreed to participate in an awareness campaign launched by the local authorities.

"The virus challenged me and I defeated it. But you are not Zlatan, do not challenge the virus. Respect the rules, distance and mask, always", he says in Italian, filmed on a terrace overlooking Milan, before donning a mask himself.

The president of Lombardy, Attilio Fontana, explained that he had the idea to enlist Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the night of the derby between the two Milan clubs.

The 39-year-old Swedish veteran, on his return after his 40s, offered victory to AC Milan (2-1) by scoring two goals against Inter.

Like its European neighbors, Italy, one of the countries most affected by the pandemic, has suffered a sharp increase in contagions in recent weeks.

The country has recorded nearly 38,000 deaths for more than 550,000 cases since the end of February.

© 2020 AFP