Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s bronze bust was revealed at the Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport yesterday to widespread mockery and laughter. Looking more like Richard Spencer or Robocop than the Real Madrid striker, users took to social media to make fun of the bust—which is, for all intents and purposes, a complete bust.
Responding to criticism, its creator Emanuel Santos, a Madeiran artist, insists that Ronaldo approved the bust during its production, with only mild suggestions to add a few more wrinkles. Santos defended the sculpture, and said it’s “impossible to please” everyone.
Santos says he spent three weeks carving the bust, which is set to be on permanent display at the airport’s terminal entrance. He insists that he’s happy with his creation.
“It is impossible to please the Greeks and Trojans. Neither did Jesus please everyone,” he said to the press (via The Guardian). “This is a matter of taste, so it is not as simple as it seems. What matters is the impact that this work generated.”
“There is always the possibility of making a difference, I was prepared for all this,” he added. “I used as a base 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.”
He insists that Ronaldo “liked what he saw” when he asked for feedback from the Portuguese footballer and his brother via text messages.
“He only asked for some wrinkles that give him a certain expression in his face when he’s about to laugh to be changed,” said Santos. “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; they liked what they saw.”
Portuguese users on social media like InsóniasEmCarvão are inclined to disagree with Ronaldo’s assessment of the bust, and took to Twitter to share photoshopped edits, many of which went viral.