Messi statue unveiled in Argentina amid pleas for his return
A bronze statue of Argentine football star Lionel Messi has been unveiled in Buenos Aires just days after the player announced he was retiring from the national team.
Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Larreta Rodriguez unveiled the statue on the shores of the River Plate.
Messi made the announcement following Argentina's defeat by Chile in the Copa America final.
Since then, there has been an outpouring of support for the player.
Argentines have been using social media to ask the 29-year-old to reconsider his decision under the hashtag #NoTeVayasLio (Don't go, Lio).
Among those trying to convince Messi to stay was President Mauricio Macri.
He tweeted: "More than ever I feel a great pride for our national team. I hope that the joy of seeing the world's best will continue for many more years. #Don'tgoLio
The hashtag has even appeared on electronic signs normally used to post traffic warnings on Buenos Aires streets.
Fans of the player gathered at the statue on Tuesday.
Many wore replicas of Messi's shirt while others tried to imitate his skills in front of the statue.
The bronze statue was erected on Paseo de la Gloria (Glory Street), which already boasts statues of other famous Argentine sports starts such as tennis player Gabriela Sabatini and basketball player Manuel Ginobili.
Following the defeat in the Copa America final on Sunday, Messi said that "for me, the national team is over".
"I've done all I can. It hurts not to be a champion," he added.
As well as losing two Copa America finals on penalties to Chile, Messi was in the Argentina side beaten 1-0 by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final.
He has been very successful at club level though, winning eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues with Spanish side Barcelona.
He has also also awarded the Ballon d'Or five times.