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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 July 2018

Lionel Messi to receive life-size chocolate birthday cake from Russian bakery - in pictures

Gesture made with the 60kg sculpture made to mark the Argentine's 31st birthday on Sunday

When Moscow confectioners found out Lionel Messi would be celebrating his birthday during the World Cup, they decided he needed a gift that measured up - a life-size chocolate sculpture in his likeness.

A team of five workers at Moscow’s Altufyevo Confectionery worked for nearly a week to carve the sculpture in 60 kg (132 lbs) of chocolate to mark the Argentina forward’s 31st birthday on Sunday.

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“We found out by chance that it was Messi’s birthday on June 24,” said chief confectioner Daria Malkina. “And we thought, ‘why not make Leo a gift, a chocolate sculpture of himself’?”

Malkina said she had been in touch with Messi’s representatives about handing him the sculpture, which will be mounted on a birthday cake.

“We will give Lionel Messi to Lionel Messi,” Malkina said, laughing.

The sculpture will also be put on display in Bronnitsy, a town located about 50 kilometers from Moscow that is Argentina’s base during the month-long tournament.

Messi has had an underwhelming World Cup for Argentina so far. He missed a penalty in their 1-1 draw with