The work of art that humbled even Ronaldo | Barbara Ellen

Barbara Ellen
Cristiano Ronaldo and the sculpture, unveiled at the newly renamed Madeira airport. Photograph: Armando Franca/AP

The new Cristiano Ronaldo bust in Madeira, commemorating the naming of the airport after the Real Madrid football player, is [struggles for the right word] … special. Fashioned by artist Emanuel Santos, it makes Ronaldo resemble Pixar’s Mr Incredible, if he were to sit on a rapidly opening pine cone, while fighting off angry hornets.

Cast in bronze, it has the sheen of one of those old dirty pennies you find at the bottom of your second-best handbag among the Fruit Gums, fluff, and leaking Biros. I’m no expert, but I recommend cleaning the bust by dipping it in tomato ketchup overnight.

Santos defended the bust, saying among other things: “Neither did Jesus please everyone.” Quite. In truth, the sculpture pleased lots of people – for all the wrong reasons (everyone was laughing at it), but so what? Ronaldo should also receive some credit. He’s always portrayed as preening and vain, and yet here he was, professing himself delighted by something that resembles a demonically possessed Antony Gormley sculpture. Perhaps Ronaldo thought: “I must look even more devilishly handsome standing next to this abomination.” It doesn’t matter. Good work, everybody.

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