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World Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo statue has Lionel Messi's name and number painted on

Vandals in Portugal painted Lionel Messi's name on a statue of Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal on Tuesday.

Messi's shirt number was also smeared in red paint on the statue in Funchal, Real Madrid and Portugal striker Ronaldo's hometown.

Reports in the Portuguese and Spanish media said the statue was vandalised early on Tuesday, the day after Messi won the Ballon d'Or in Zurich to end Ronaldo's two-year hold on football's top individual prize.

The reports said the statue was cleaned by the end of the day, and added that officials were still searching for the vandals.

Ronaldo's sister, Katia Aveiro, expressed her otutrage at the act of vandalism via her personal Twitter account.

"I am angry, sad, disappointed and speechless at this so disrespectful lack of maturity," she wrote. "It is disrespectful for the tourists.

"We all know how proud I am of this person [Ronaldo] -- I could spend hours talking about his acts of goodness and qualities. As a Portuguese I am left sad and ashamed.

"Thanks to him [Ronaldo] there has been tourism, jobs created and investment on our lovely island which unfortunately is inhabited by some frustrated savages who deserve to live in Syria. People who have no respect and do not know how to live in society."

The Ronaldo statue was unveiled in 2014 in the presence of the Real Madrid player and close relatives.

ESPN FC's Spain correspondent Dermot Corrigan contributed to this report


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