Messi statue in Buenos Aires smashed into two


Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi

A statue of Lionel Messi in Argentina’s capital has been broken in half, with the player’s upper body, arms and head removed, officials reported.

The Messi statue on the Paseo de la Gloria walkway overlooking the River Plate was severed at the waist leaving only the lower body and a ball.

City Hall said they do not know who was responsible or the motive for the damage.

The statue was unveiled in June shortly after Argentina lost the final of the Copa America Centenario to Chile on penalties, a defeat that prompted Messi to say he was quitting the national team.

The Barcelona forward, who returned to international duty for World Cup qualifiers in September, is widely loved in his homeland.

Messi does, however, have his detractors, notably those who are critical of his performances for Argentina, who have lost three major finals in two years, including at the 2014 World Cup.

The walkway has statues of Argentine sports greats including racing driver Juan Manuel Fangio, NBA basketball star Manu Ginobili, golfer Roberto de Vicenzo and tennis players Guillermo Vilas and Gabriela Sabatini.

Statues that contain bronze, as Messi’s did, are sometimes vandalised to sell the precious metal.

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