Van­dals chop up statue of Messi

China Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

A statue in Buenos Aires of soc­cer su­per­star Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Ar­gen­tine na­tional team fame 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 June, shortly af­ter Ar­gentina and Messi lost the fi­nal of the Copa Amer­ica against Chile.

The city gov­ern­ment says it is work­ing to re­pair 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 in the area that are 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 field hockey player Lu­ciana Ay­mar.

Van­dals also stole the racket from Sa­ba­tini’s statue.

MAR­COS BRINDICCI / REUTERS

A statue of Ar­gen­tine soc­cer su­per­star Lionel Messi (top), which was un­veiled in June in Buenos Aires, stands de­stroyed by van­dals (be­low) on Mon­day,

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