Lionel Messi statue vandalised for second time in a year | World | News

The perpetrators cut off the footballer’s legs in an attack yesterday morning, leaving just the tops of his ankles and a football attached to his magic left foot on the base of the sculpture.

It was the second time in less than a year that the work of art in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires had been vandalised.

In January the bronze statue was cut in half from the waist up.

Police are still hunting those responsible for the latest incident.

The repair bill has not yet been revealed.

The Messi tribute was unveiled by city mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta during the campaign to convince Messi to reverse his international retirement following Argentina’s Copa America final defeat.

It is located on the banks of the La Plata River in the Argentine capital, and forms part of a Glory Walkway honouring other Argentine stars like Diego Maradona and Formula 1 world champion Juan Manuel Fangio.

Other statues in the same area have been vandalised in the past, with one to tennis star Gabriela Sabatini being stolen.

In January last year a Cristiano Ronaldo statue unveiled in December 2014 in the Madeiran capital Funchal was vandalised around the same time Messi pipped the Real Madrid striker to claim a historic fifth Ballon d’Or.

The perpetrators , famed for being generous to the footballer with a large bulge in the shorts department.

Ronaldo’s sister Katia Aveiro took to Facebook to say she was “ashamed” at what had happened and called those responsible “savages”.

Venting her anger in a long-winded attack in which she described her brother as a “marvellous person” and a “fighter”, she said: “I find the act in itself a dishonour but what I find more shameful is the envy that surrounds him and the rage that some unloved and frustrated fatheads display in public in a disgraceful way which leaves me as a Portuguese person ashamed and sad.

“The people that are responsible for this and other negative things directed towards this person should know that our island was recently voted the world’s leading island destination not just for the beautiful sea that surrounds us or for our marvellous gastronomy or even the warm Madeiran welcome.

“It was in part thanks to this great Madeiran figure that honours his origins.”

Dubbing the vandals “frustrated savages” and saying they deserved to be sent to Syria in an attack in which she appeared at times to be overwhelmed by her own anger, she added:…

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