Messi, Ronaldo kissing graffiti causes pre-Clasico stir

This file photo taken on October 23, 2014 shows two store mannequins sporting the jerseys of Real ...
This file photo taken on October 23, 2014 shows two store mannequins sporting the jerseys of Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Ronaldo Cristiano (L) and Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi in a shop window at Puerta del Sol, in the centre of Madrid. Madrid will host Barca for a Clasico on April 23, 2017 with a three-point lead at the top of La Liga and with a game in hand. / AFP PHOTO / SEBASTIEN BERDA

A graffiti portraying Lionel Messi on tiptoes kissing arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo has caused a stir in Barcelona, just two days before the seaside city’s team faces Real Madrid in a crux game.

The graffiti on a bus stop in central Barcelona shows the Argentina and Barcelona star embracing and tenderly kissing his Portuguese Real Madrid rival, a football at their feet and a rose in Messi’s hand, drawing many camera-wielding tourists.

The artist Tvboy said he had been inspired by the fact that Sunday’s El Clasico game happens to fall on April 23 — which is when people in Barcelona and the wider region of Catalonia celebrate their very own Valentine’s Day.

“I’m looking for a message of hope and positivity. With all the clashes there have been in football between hooligans, I want to say: ‘be calmer’,” he told AFP.

“Messi and Cristiano are opponents, I know they would never kiss. But art must portray an ideal world, it must astonish, provoke.”

Tvboy is an Italian from Milan who has lived for 13 years in Barcelona, whose streets have become his canvas.

His latest project dubbed “Love is blind” started during the US election campaign, during which he drew Republican candidate and current president Donald Trump kissing his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton.

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