Latin America & Caribbean

Lionel Messi statue vandalised in Buenos Aires

A boy wears a Lionel Messi jersey as he approaches the statue of Argentina's soccer player Messi after it was unveiled in Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 28, 2016. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Fans flocked to the statue when it was unveiled last June

A statue of Argentine football star Lionel Messi has been vandalised in Buenos Aires.

The bronze statue, unveiled last June, was broken in half and the torso, arms and head removed.

The motive for the damage was not clear but city officials say repairs to the statue are already under way.

It was unveiled just as the striker announced he was retiring from the national team - a decision he later reversed.

The statue stood on Paseo de la Gloria (Glory Street), which also displays casts of other famous Argentine sports stars such as tennis player Gabriela Sabatini and basketball player Manuel Ginobili.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Argentine newspaper La Nacion tweeted an image of the wrecked statue

Statues in the area have previously been targeted by vandals or thieves.

"The statue of Lionel Messi... was victim of an act of vandalism that left the footballer's sculpture without its top half," the Buenos Aires municipal government said in a statement.

"The city government is already working on its repair."

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