Lionel Messi statue in Argentina found missing its top half

A statue of Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi was vandalised in Buenos Aires on Monday.

The figure, which was constructed in an attempt to help convince the five-time Ballon d'Or winner to return to the national team during his brief retirement from the Albiceleste this summer, was found missing its top half.

However, officials in the Argentine capital said repairs have already begun.

"The statue of Lionel Messi fell victim to an act of vandalism that left the footballer's sculpture without its top half," the Buenos Aires city government said in a statement.

"Its repair is now being worked on."

The statue is located on the "Paseo de la Gloria" with other Argentine athletic figures such as tennis champion Gabriela Sabatini and NBA and world champion Manu Ginobili among others.