Buenos Aires (AP) – A group of street artists in a downtrodden neighborhood of the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires, have painted a giant mural of soccer star Lionel Messi, which they say is the largest of its kind in the world.
The giant work, which is 40 feet tall and almost 75 feet wide, shows Messi wearing a jersey of his national team and looking at a soccer ball.
There really is a social message behind a lot of this, helping the communities, the poor communities where the artworks are being painted and the artists are making these new interventions
The mural is located in Isla Maciel, a marginalized neighborhood in Buenos Aires that has in the past been known for delinquency and prostitution.
The design by local street artists Martin Ron, El Marian and Jiant pays homage to the four-time FIFA World Player of the year who is an idol for millions of people in his native Argentina and around the world.
In recent years Buenos Aires has seen a wave of street artists and their vibrant works reinvigorate the walls of some of the city's shabby neighborhoods.
British author and street art specialist, Matt Fox has lived in the city for over 5 years documenting the growth of the movement.
"There really is a social message behind a lot of this, helping the communities, the poor communities where the artworks are being painted and the artists are making these new interventions," Fox said on Monday.
The Messi mural is one of a number planned by Ron and his fellow artists, all with the goal of inspiring people to come back to the community's streets.