Argentina’s Lionel Messi is used to being knocked down by desperate defenders but his statue in Buenos Aires in Argentina has suffered even rougher treatment for the second time this year.
The FC Barcelona forward’s bronze sculpture on Paseo de la Gloria was vandalised on Monday, chopped off at the ankles with the body left on the pavement.
Appropriately perhaps, given how difficult it is to pry it away from him on the pitch, the ball remained stuck to the left boot at the base of the statue.
Since being installed in June 2016 the statue has been a regular target for vandals and in January it was cut in half at the waist.
Messi, a five-times world player of the year, scored a hat-trick against Ecuador in October to secure Argentina’s passage to next year’s World Cup in the final South American qualifying match.