A statue of Argentina captain Lionel Messi has been destroyed by unidentified vandals in Buenos Aires.
The statue was originally sculpted to reverse the playmaker’s decision to retire from international football following Argentina’s Copa America final defeat. The tribute to the 30-year-old, five-time Ballon d'Or winner was unveiled by city mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta.
This is the second time the statue has been vandalised this year after the sculpture suffered similar consequences, with the torso and head torn off only a matter of months after it was placed in its current location.
This time around, perpetrators cut off the legs of the statue, located on the banks of the La Plata river, in the Buenos Aires port district of Puerto Madero on Sunday morning - leaving just the tops of his ankles.
The sculpture forms part of a so-called 'glory walkway' alongside other Argentine stars such as Diego Maradona, F1 world champion Juan Manuel Fangio, tennis stars Gabriela Sabatini and Guillermo Vilas and NBA basketball sensation Manu Ginobili.
Messi had single handedly dragged his side to the World Cup with a hat-trick in the final qualifier against Ecuador.