PA/ Twitter

Pigeon racing might seem like a dying art, but an elite group of Chinese pigeon fanciers are keeping the hobby alive and pushing the price of birds to record highs.

And now one Belgian bird described as the “Lionel Messi” of pigeons has been sold for more than £1m at an online auction. Yep, that’s right.

Armando fetched a fee more than three time times the previous world record after an online bidding war between two Chinese fanciers.

Nikolaas Gyselbrecht, the founder of auction house Pipa that sold Armando, said:

This pigeon has a race record that has never been matched by any other pigeon.

In football terms you have Messi and Ronaldo – it’s that level.

People on Twitter went wild when they heard the news.

Of course, many responded to the news with pigeon-themed jokes.

Armando actually retired from racing at five years old but continues to hold value because of his breeding potential.

His sale also beat the record offline auction price of 500,000 euros (£428,000), paid for a pigeon named Mr Fantastic.

Gyselbrecht said that there's a group of people "who do not like that so much money is involved". He added:

It’s like in football, some people can’t believe the money being paid.

The Woolwich Pigeon certainly had plenty to say on the matter.

Looks like Armando might have ruffled a few feathers in the pigeon-racing world.

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