Messi statue ‘decapitated’ in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES: Argentine superstar Lionel Messi’s statue here was broke into two pieces when vandals attacked it on Tuesday, leaving the sculpture of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner without its head or torso.

“The statue of Lionel Messi fell victim to an act of vandalism that left it without its top half,” the Buenos Aires city government said in a statement.

The vandalised sculpture of Argentinian football player Lionel Messi is pictured at the "walk of fame" in Buenos Aires on January 10, 2017. Vandals in Buenos Aires destroyed a statue of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, leaving the sculpture of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner without its head or torso on Tuesday.  / AFP PHOTO / Leo RAMIREZ

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Sculpted out of black marble, the statue of the soccer star was erected last June just after Argentina lost the Copa America final to Chile, after which the 29-year-old Messi announced his international retirement.

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According to local media, the monument is far from the first to be targeted in the area with that of former US Open champion Gabriela Sabatini stripped of its racquet not long ago.

Tributes to Messi as well as the likes of basketball star Manu Ginobili, four-time tennis Grand Slam winner Guillermo Vilas and Formula One great Juan Manuel Fangio are all located along the Buenos Aires “walk of fame”.

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