Back in June of 2016, Argentina unveiled a bronze statue of its current soccer megastar, Lionel Messi. The statue was meant honor Messi’s athleticism and contributions to the game of fútbol. It was meant to to stand the test of time, just like Messi’s legacy. Unfortunately, vandals had other plans for the statue.
Here’s what the Messi statue used to look like.
CREDIT: NEW CHINA TV / YOUTUBE
The statue was unveiled shortly after Messi announced his plans to retire from the national team. He later changed his mind about all that.
But vandals took their frustrations out on the statue, so here’s what the Messi statue looks like now.
— kandavalsports (@kandavalsports) January 10, 2017
Usually when someone destroys a piece of art, it’s called defacing. This statue was not only defaced, but also de-torsoed and de-armed.
Even cut in half, the statue was still standing.
Lionel Messi statue cut in half in Buenos Aires
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) January 10, 2017
This proves that even in statue form, Leo Messi never dives.
CREDIT: CuleDelBarca’s channel / YOutube
This isn’t the first time a statue honoring an Argentine athlete has been vandalized. In 2014, tennis player Gabriela Sabatini’s statue had her tennis racket stolen.
Gabriela Sabatini, US Open-vinder i 1990 er æret med en statue i B.A. Efter 20 dage er ketcheren allerede stjålet… pic.twitter.com/2vSg68AeS1
— Peter Arnholdt (@peterarnholdt) October 29, 2014
Here’s a closer look.
Picture of a statue of Argentine former tennis champion Gabriela Sabatini standing at the Costanera Sur in Argentina pic.twitter.com/hbKn9i8jNt
— Michael Aguaron (@MichaelAguaron) November 2, 2014
Both statues are part of Buenos Aires famous Paseo de la Gloria, a walkway which features many statues honoring Argentine sports legends.
CREDIT: GOOGLE MAPS
Along with Sabatini and Messi, the street features legends like Diego Maradona (soccer), Pascual Pérez (boxing), Emanuel “Manu” Ginobili (basketball), and many others.
Fans looking to get a photo with the bottom half of Messi will have to wait. Argentina’s government has already taken the statue away for repairs.
"The statue of Lionel Messi fell victim to an act of vandalism."
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 10, 2017
Just like Messi, this statue isn’t ready for retirement.
But it could have been worse — the entire world could have turned on him just because he was trying to do his job!
CREDIT: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice / Warner Bros. Pictures