Lionel Messi's statue vandalised again

Elsa  GettyImages

Elsa GettyImages

Hooligans have knocked over a statue of Barcelona forward Lionel Messi in Buenos Aires for the second time this year.

Messi's boots still chased a ball on the plinth while the severed body was pushed to the ground and left lying there.

Argentine media tweeted pictures of the vandalised statue.

The 30-year-old Messi is his country's all-time leading scorer with 61 goals in 123 appearances and it was his hat-trick against Ecuador in Argentina's 3-1 win in their final qualifier on Oct. 10 that secured the nation their place at the 2018 World Cup.

In January, the monument was cut in half from the waist up before being repaired and re-erected by the city government days later.

Messi, 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.

His only international honour has been an Olympic gold at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

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