Lionel Messi has not been enjoying a stellar start to 2017, it has to be said.

The Argentina and Barcelona superstar lost out to Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo in the FIFA Best Male Player award on Monday, while the Catalan giants are yet to win a match since football on the continent started again following the enforced winter break.

Now, Messi has another low point to add to his list - that of his statue in Buenos Aires, Argentina, being vandalised.

The sculpture, commissioned in June 2016 after the 29-year-old had announced his retirement form international football - before he eventually reneged on that decision - has been significantly damaged, with the head, torso and arms all being stolen.

The only part of the statue that remains is, ironically, Messi's legs, feet and the football at the base of the effigy. You have to wonder if that, by leaving only those bits of the statue, there's supposed to be a hidden message behind the vandalism.

The sculpture has now been removed to undergo repairs. No doubt before getting vandalised. Again.

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