Messi statue in Argentina vandalized; torso, head sliced off

Messi statue in Argentina vandalized; torso, head sliced off

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — A statue in Buenos Aires of Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi has been vandalized, with the head, torso and arms all being removed — leaving only the legs and a soccer ball on display.

The statue was installed in late June, just shortly after Argentina and Messi lost the final of the Copa America against Chile.

The city government says it is working to reconstruct the statue.

The vandalism took place on Monday, just hours after Cristiano Ronaldo was named FIFA’s best player of the season for the fourth time. Messi, who finished second in the voting, has won the award five times.

The Messi statue is among several others in the area, all of them dedicated to Argentine sports stars. They include a figure of basketball player Manu Ginobili, tennis players Gabriela Sabatini and Guillermo Vilas, Formula One champion Juan Manuel Fangio, and hockey player Luciana Aymar.

Vandals also stole the racket from Sabatini’s statue.

The Associated Press