A statue is a free-standing sculpture through which the artist aims to immortalize the subject. The Ronaldo Statue may have just immortalized the artist.
History has seen sporting legends immortalized through statues. And the football player Cristiano Ronaldo is a legend of our time.
And in 2014 he received a ‘statue-tory’ tribute in his hometown Funchal, Portugal. Later in 2017, the Portuguese further displayed their affection with another bust statue at the Madeira airport. The statue was later replaced in 2018 by another bust.
Ronaldo has earned his ‘legend’ status through his consistent performance in football. He is quite literally a game-changer when it comes to giving outstanding performances during high-pressure situations. He is truly the best player of his time. Whenever on the football field, he can be seen driving his teammates to victory.
Manchester United is said to have done the best statue tributes – Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best, and Denis Law. Another of the most famous tributes is the England football team’s Tom Finney splashing fountains statue. Every statue has a particular aspect that makes it stand out. Ronaldo’s first statue received instant fame thanks to its bulging crotch. And as tourists cannot help touching it, it seems to be growing bigger by the day. Perhaps that part of the statue was sponsored by Ronaldo’s underwear brand CR7. He has done several photoshoots for the brand advertising campaigns wearing just the underwear with a well-set crotch.
The second statue unveiled at Madeira airport however barely resembled Ronaldo and certainly did not go down well with his fans. One of the poorest of bronze castings in the history of mankind. Even an untrained eye would ask, what was the sculptor Emanuel Santos thinking when he made this? BBC quoted his saying “I want my son to understand that if he enjoys doing something very much, don’t let himself be defeated with negative criticism”.
One year later in 2018, Santos took his shot at redemption by unveiling a more realistic bust statue. This one looked a lot like Ronaldo and was something that fans could live with.
The Real Madrid striker’s original bust statue is still installed inside the airport terminal and people still look at it awe-stuck. Regardless of how closely the bust mimics Ronaldo’s looks, it will surely be a tourist attraction for a long time.
Ronaldo is the most popular sports player on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. He is reported to have approximately 440 million followers across all social media platforms. In 2011, Castrol sponsored a movie based on his life, with the title ‘Ronaldo: Tested to the Limit’.
Ronaldo isn’t the only international sport star who faced this kind of an ‘art attack’. Michael Kojo Essien, a popular football player from Ghana too has a bizarre looking statue in his country. And the soccer great, Diego Maradona, was greeted during his visit to India with an odd faced statue installed in Kolkata, India.