Bizarre statue of Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo provokes ridicule

Wil Longbottom, News Reporter

A bust of Portugal footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has caused a storm online - for all the wrong reasons.

Madeira, where the 32-year-old Real Madrid star grew up, has renamed its airport in honour of him, and the bronze statue was revealed during a ceremony marking the occasion on Wednesday.

The bust features the Real Madrid star's trademark grin, but apart from that it bears little resemblance to the former Manchester United player.

Ronaldo was joined by guests, fans and the Portuguese president and prime minister as a plaque in his honour was unveiled above the bust at the airport, which is now known as Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo.

But the quality of the workmanship on the statue has drawn criticism on the internet, with some comparing it to a puppet from children's TV show Art Attack or Sloth from 80s movie The Goonies.

"You know how proud I am of my roots, my homeland," Ronaldo said in a speech.

The footballer, who has a record 138 national team appearances, seemed to laugh off any embarrassment over the statue, laughing and joking with guests at the ceremony.

The airport was renamed following a decision by the Madeira regional government after Portugal won the 2016 European Championship, despite opposition to the move.

Portugal President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, paying tribute to the footballer, said he was "an example of excellence" and "projects Madeira and Portugal across the world far more than anybody else".

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