In Brief

'Even Jesus didn't please everyone,' says Ronaldo sculptor

Artist insists footballer has given his blessing to commemorative bust at Madeira's Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo

The sculptor responsible for a bust of footballer Cristiano Ronaldo at Madeira's Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken out after his artwork was ridiculed on social media. 

Artist Emmanuel Santos said opinions about the sculpture - likened to Niall Quinn, Raoul Moat and The Head from TV show Art Attack - were simply a matter of taste and that the Real Madrid superstar himself was happy with the likeness.

"It was impossible to please the Greeks and Trojans. Nor did Jesus please everyone," he said. "What matters is the impact that this work generated. There is always the possibility of making a difference. I was prepared for all this."

Explaining how he created the sculpture, he said: "I used some photos of Cristiano Ronaldo that I found on the internet, nothing specific. I put the photos next to me and started working on the bust.

"Cristiano saw the photos [of the bust] that his brother sent him... He only asked for some wrinkles that give him a certain expression in his face when he's about to laugh to be changed. 

"He said it made him look older and asked for it to be thinned out a bit to make it smoother and more jovial. But they gave it the go-ahead and they liked what they saw."

Santos was chosen for the commission "after offering his services to the owner of the airport, where he was previously employed", reports The Guardian. "[He] spent three weeks creating the bust before it was sent to the Portuguese mainland to be cast in bronze. 

"Ronaldo appeared to see the funny side at Wednesday's ceremony but Santos was adamant that the 32-year-old had given the bust his blessing."

Airport named after Ronaldo - but his bust steals the show

29 March

Madeira Airport has been renamed in honour of the island's most famous son, footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, although the celebrations were overshadowed by a "horrendous" bust of the Real Madrid star unveiled at the ceremony.

Politicians "decided to change the airport's name after Ronaldo's efforts in Portugal's Euro 2016 success - the country's first major international title", reports the Daily Mirror.

The 32-year-old striker "is a local hero in Madeira", says The Guardian, and seen as a "rags-to-riches" success.

"He already has a statue, a museum and a hotel named after him" on the island, it adds.

 However, it is unclear what he made of the bronze bust on display during today's event.

Opening the newly named airport "should have been a joyous celebration of a glittering career", says the Daily Telegraph, instead it was "sidetracked by criticism of the Portuguese star's bronze likeness".

The paper adds: "Questions have been asked as to whether the face actually resembles Ronaldo's in any way, with other assessments of the sculptor's handiwork ranging from 'questionable' to 'horrifying'.

"The Real Madrid forward put on a brave face at the ceremony... though a man who prides himself so much on his winsome complexion cannot be best pleased with this particular artist's impression of him."

The Independent says the bust does not look "anything remotely like Ronaldo" and considers its "disconcertingly lopsided grin actually bears more than a passing resemblance to The Head from popular kids TV show Art Attack".

This is not the first attempt to capture the essence of CR7 to go awry, adds the paper: "Just down the road in Madeira there stands a full statue of Ronaldo, featuring what appears to be David Beckham's face, laughably out of proportion arms, and a suspiciously small bulge down below."

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