La Liga: Lionel Messi-Cristiano Ronaldo kiss graffiti causes stir in Barcelona ahead of El Clasico

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Barcelona: A graffiti portraying Lionel Messi on tiptoes kissing arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo has caused a stir in Barcelona, just two days before the seaside city’s team faces Real Madrid in a crux game.

The graffiti on a bus stop in central Barcelona shows the Argentina and Barcelona star embracing and tenderly kissing his Portuguese Real Madrid rival, a football at their feet and a rose in Messi’s hand, drawing many camera-wielding tourists.

A graffiti depicting Lionel Messi kissing Cristiano Ronaldo by street artist Salva Tvboy in Barcelona. AFP

A graffiti depicting Lionel Messi kissing Cristiano Ronaldo by street artist Salva “Tvboy” in Barcelona. AFP

The artist Tvboy said he had been inspired by the fact that Sunday’s El Clasico game happens to fall on 23 April – which is when people in Barcelona and the wider region of Catalonia celebrate their very own Valentine’s Day.

“I’m looking for a message of hope and positivity. With all the clashes there have been in football between hooligans, I want to say: ‘be calmer’,” he told AFP.

“Messi and Cristiano are opponents, I know they would never kiss. But art must portray an ideal world, it must astonish, provoke.”

Tvboy is an Italian from Milan who has lived for 13 years in Barcelona, whose streets have become his canvas.

His latest project dubbed “Love is blind” started during the US election campaign, during which he drew Republican candidate and current president Donald Trump kissing his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton.

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