On Wednesday, the Madeira International Airport was officially renamed the Cristiano Ronaldo Airport in honor of the famed soccer player who was born in the Portuguese archipelago. While the renaming was a point of controversy in itself, that was quickly eclipsed at the inaugurating ceremony by the frightening bronze bust of 32-year-old Ronaldo. It is, needless to say, a far cry from the sex icon.

The bust attempts to capture his suave, crooked smile, but instead makes him look to be, in the eyes of many on social media, like Jim Carrey in The Mask, the clay head from Art Attack, Chucky, or some combination of Vanilla Ice, Johnny Bravo, and Mr. Incredible.

The local Madeira artist, Emanuel Santos, defended his artwork to the Portuguese website Globo Sports, “Even Jesus did not please everyone. This is a matter of taste, it’s not as simple as it seems.” He explained that he worked off of many online images of Ronaldo to try to capture his likeness.

While we’re bizarrely on the topic of Jesus, social media users were quick to make the comparison to Beast Jesus, the fresco that was “restored” in a Spanish church in 2012 (and lately also had a second coming).

Santos’s bust has joined the pantheon of botched portraits, among them the terrifying sculpture of Lucille Ball (or “Scary Lucy”) in her western New York hometown, and the looming Rome statue of Pope John Paul II, which was deemed a Benito Mussolini look-a-like.

But there is also yet another Ronaldo sculpture gone wrong, also in the proud islands of Madeira, where a museum was built for him. (Naming things in his honor is somewhat of a fad, with Ryanair changing the logo on one of its planes to “Ryanaldo” after Portugal won Euro 2016 — also the incentive for the Madeira Airport’s title change.) The sculpture at the Cristiano Ronaldo Museum depicts the soccer player in position before a penalty kick, which, when forever frozen in time, unfortunately looks like he’s constipated.


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Elisa Wouk Almino

Elisa Wouk Almino is a senior editor at Hyperallergic. She is based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.