Argentina Pleads For Messi Return: Statue Unveiled, Electronic Traffic Warnings Displaying "Don't go, Lio"

Mayor Larreta Rodriguez revealed the bronze likeness just days after Copa America defeat to Chile, while signs around the capital begged the star to reverse his decision.

Even the Buenos Aires government has caught Lionel Messi fever after the Argentina captain vowed to retire from international football, as City Hall joins in the 'Don't Leave' campaign. 

Buenos Aires mayor Horacio Larreta Rodriguez unveiled a statue of the Barcelona star in the city on Tuesday, just days after he pulled the curtain on his Seleccion career.

Messi affirmed the national team "was over" for him after losing to Chile in the Copa America final, Argentina's third defeat in as many years.

But Larreta had pleaded with the No. 10 to stay in a video released on social media after the announcement, and stepped up the campaign with the bronze statue.

Messi's likeness now stands on the shores of the Rio de la Plata on the city's Paseo de la Gloria (Glory Trail), alongside such legends as Emanuel Ginobili, Luciana Aymar, Juan Manuel Fangio and Hugo Porta.

The campaign also continues in the streets and avenues of the Argentine capital.

The hashtag #NoTeVayasLio (Don't go, Lio) has been flashed on electronic signs originally designed for traffic warnings across the city, in the hope that the Rosario native will change his mind.