Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi statue in Buenos Aires vandalised again

The bronze statue was chopped off just above the ankles, with the main "body" left lying on the pavement.

It is the second time the statue, which was unveiled in June 2016, has been targeted by vandals. Police said the motive was unclear.

Messi recently saved Argentina's 2018 World Cup place when he scored a hat-trick against Ecuador in October.

Argentine media tweeted pictures of the vandalised statue.

Messi the billion-dollar man

The news ended speculation that the five-times world player of the year could leave for free in June.

"FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi signed on Saturday morning a new contract that will keep the Argentine superstar at the Club through the 2020/21 season," a statement from Barca, posting a picture of Messi signing the deal alongside president Josep Maria Bartomeu, read.

"The buyout clause was set at 700 million euros (NZ $1.2 billion)."

Ronaldo overtakes Messi in Champions League goal scoring race

The Portugal star netted twice in Real Madrid's 6-0 thrashing of APOEL on Tuesday to move onto 98 in the famous white shirt.

He is one above Messi in this particular scoring stat, with the Barcelona man sitting on 97 ahead of his side's clash with Juventus on Wednesday.

Ronaldo also broke his own record for Champions League goals in a calendar year, moving onto 18 for 2017 with his double in Cyprus to surpass his previous best of 15 two years ago.

Messi has signed Barcelona contract – Tebas

The future of the Argentina superstar has been the subject of some speculation, with his current contract set to expire in June.

If no new contract was in the offing, Messi would be free to speak to other clubs from January and reports of a reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City have continued to linger.

However, Tebas says LaLiga's record goalscorer is not going anywhere having already been informed Messi has penned his new agreement.

Raiola tells Messi to leave Barcelona

Messi has agreed a new deal with Barcelona but that contract remains unsigned amid uncertainty over the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's future at Camp Nou.

With the 30-year-old yet to put pen to paper, Manchester City – managed by former Barca boss Pep Guardiola – have emerged as a possible destination.

Raiola does not represent Messi but the Italy-born Dutchman – whose list of clients includes Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Marco Verratti, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – believes the time is right for a change.

Messi and Pogba launch UEFA initiative

Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are also on board with the #EqualGame campaign, which aims to show that "everyone has the right to enjoy football, no matter who you are, where you're from or how you play".

Barcelona star Messi said his belief in the power of sport is why he has thrown his weight behind the scheme.

Neymar delighted with Messi extension

As expected, Messi, 30, re-signed with the LaLiga giants on Wednesday, putting pen to paper on a deal until 2021.

Neymar was thrilled with the Argentina international's extension, which puts Messi on track to finish his career at Barca.

"I'm very happy to have the best in the world with us," he said.

"It's complicated to think about football without him."

Under a new coach in Ernesto Valverde, Barca are preparing for what is sure to be another title battle with rivals Real Madrid in 2017-18.

Lionel Messi agrees new Barcelona contract

The forward's previous deal was due to expire in 2018, with the three-year extension ensuring he is contracted at Camp Nou for at least the next four years.

Formal signing of the contract is set to take place after Messi, currently on honeymoon after his wedding to Antonella Roccuzzo, has returned for pre-season training.

Barca hailed the Argentina international as they announced the deal, labelling him "the best player in history".

Navas wouldn't sign Barcelona star Messi for Real Madrid

Regarded as the greatest player of all time, Messi has won five Ballon d'Or and 29 trophies during his time at bitter rivals Barcelona, including eight LaLiga titles and four Champions League trophies.

But with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale already at Spanish and European champions Madrid, goalkeeper Navas said he would turn away Messi.

"He is a great player, but the team-mates we have are incredible too. So no," Navas, who is determined to cement his position at the Santiago Bernabeu, told Marca.

Neymar: I was embarrassed to speak to Messi

The Brazil international attended his Barca team-mate's star-studded wedding in Rosario on Friday, a sign of the close bond he has developed with the club legend.

But Neymar revealed he has not always been able to talk so freely around Messi, finding the settling in process at Camp Nou daunting as he entered a dressing room that featured so many of the game's greats.