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.
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.
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.
This proves that even in statue form, Leo Messi never dives.
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.
Here’s a closer look.
Both statues are part of Buenos Aires famous Paseo de la Gloria, a walkway which features many statues honoring Argentine sports legends.
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.
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!