Messi brutally hacked down with no video ref in sight

December 5 – For the second time this year, a bronze statue of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi has been vandalised in Buenos Aires with the motive unclear.

Since being installed in June last year the statue has been a regular target for vandals and in January it was cut in half at the waist.

This time it was hacked off just above the ankles, with the main part left lying on the pavement. This despite Messi recently saving Argentina’s bacon when he netted a hat-trick in the all-important World Cup qualifier against Ecuador in October.

Messi left Argentina in 2000 to play for Barcelona and while he has not always put in stellar performances for the national team and his only international honour was an Olympic gold medal in 2008, his display against Ecuador ensured Argentina’s place in Russia next year.

After missing a penalty in a shootout against Chile in the Copa America final in June 2016, Messi, five-time world player of the year, announced his retirement only to change his mind two months later.

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