Youths play with footballs next to a sculpture of Argentina's forward Lionel Messi, after it unveiling by Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on June 28, 2016

Picture copyright
Getty Photographs

Picture caption

The statue was unveiled in June 2016 and has been vandalised twice since

A statue of Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi has been vandalised within the capital, Buenos Aires.

The bronze statue was chopped off simply above the ankles, with the primary “physique” left mendacity on the pavement.

It’s the second time the statue, which was unveiled in June 2016, has been focused by vandals. Police mentioned the motive was unclear.

Messi just lately saved Argentina’s 2018 World Cup place when he scored a hat-trick in opposition to Ecuador in October.

Argentine media tweeted photos of the vandalised statue.

The statue was unveiled in June 2016 on Paseo de la Gloria, the place casts of different well-known Argentine sports activities stars comparable to tennis participant Gabriela Sabatini and basketball participant Manuel Ginobili are additionally on show.

The area was created in preparation for the Olympic Youth Video games which can be held in Buenos Aires in 2018.

It has attracted vandals and thieves earlier than, comparable to in January of this yr, when the Messi statue was lower in half on the waist.

Messi, who left Argentina in 2000 to play for Barcelona, has previously come below criticism for his efficiency within the nationwide crew.

Whereas he has gained 4 European Cups, eight league titles, 5 Ballons d’Or and three Membership World Cups, Messi has not gained a World Cup.

His solely worldwide honour has been an Olympic gold on the 2008 Video games in Beijing.

Argentine soccer followers had been ruthless of their criticism when he missed in a penalty shootout in opposition to Chile within the Copa America closing in June 2016.

Messi responded by announcing his retirement from international football, only to reverse that decision two months later citing his “love of the country”.