Vandals paint Messi’s name on Ronaldo statue

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo (Andres Kudacki/AP)

MADRID — Vandals in Portugal have painted Lionel Messi’s name on a Cristiano Ronaldo statue in Portugal.

Messi’s jersey number also was tagged with red paint on Ronaldo’s full-figured statue in Funchal, the Portuguese striker’s hometown.

Portuguese and Spanish media say the statue was vandalized early Tuesday, a day after Messi won the Ballon d’Or in Zurich to end Ronaldo’s two-year hold on soccer’s top individual honour.

Local media said the statue was cleaned by the end of the day Tuesday, but officials were still searching for the vandals.

Ronaldo’s statue was inaugurated in 2014 with the presence of the Real Madrid player and his close relatives.