POLICE are hunting two burglars who broke into the home of Barcelona midfielder Arthur Melo and threatened his brother with a machete while he was at the Nou Camp last night.
The break-in happened during Barcelona’s 3-0 Champions League semi-final victory against Liverpool.
The raiders are understood to have taken valuables including jewellery and a Rolex watch along with cash.
A spokesman for the regional Mossos d’Esquadra police force confirmed officers were investigating a break-in at a house in the upmarket Barcelona neighbourhood of Pedralbes.
The spokesman added: “We would not say who lives at the property. All I can confirm is that we are investigating a break-in and robbery at an address in Pedralbes.”
Arthur, 22, did not take part in the first-leg clash at the Nou Camp, watching from the bench as an unused sub as Barca stormed to victory.
Local reports said his unnamed brother returned home around 11pm after the match to discover two masked men in the house.
They put a weapon – thought to be a machete – to his throat and forced him to open a safe with valuables inside. There were no reports of any injuries.
A number of top football stars in Spain have been targeted by criminals who broke into their homes while they were on footballing duty.
In February burglars broke into former Premiership star Kevin Prince Boateng’s rented home in the upmarket Barcelona neighbourhood of Sarria and took around £250,000 of valuables and cash as he was playing against Valladolid.
It later emerged it was the same house targeted by criminals last November when Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba was living there.
At the time, Alba was on his way to Italy for a Champions League tie against Inter Milan.
Sadio Mane, Steven Gerrard, Pepe Reina and Peter Crouch have all suffered similar fates while playing in Europe for Liverpool, with their houses being burgled during midweek games.
In June last year burglars broke into the luxury home of Barcelona star Gerard Pique and his singer partner Shakira.
The footballer’s parents were said to have been asleep inside the mansion in Esplugues de Llobregat near Barcelona when the break-in occurred. They were unharmed.
Pique had travelled to the German city of Cologne were Shakira was performing and was not at home at the time.
In February last year burglars broke into former Liverpool star’s Philippe Coutinho’s home near Barcelona on the same day his car was towed away.
The thieves are thought to have taken advantage of two ladders that had been left by a neighbouring property where work is going on to enter the mansion, the old home of Chelsea star Cesc Fabregas.
Burglars also targeted Real Madrid star Raphael Varane’s home in December 2016 after he forgot to put his alarm on before leaving to play his last Champions League group stage match against Borussia Dortmund.
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The French defender returned to find thousands of pounds worth of jewellery, cash, clothes and household accessories missing.
In November 2016 burglars stole designer watches and jewellery during a raid on the home of former Real Madrid and Barcelona star Luis Figo.
They are believed to have forced their way in through a first-floor terrace door after climbing the front of the house in the Madrid neighbourhood of Parque de Conde de Orgaz, a short drive from Varane’s home.
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