Cristiano Ronaldo statue Madeira AirportGetty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo statue: Who sculpted it, where is it & all you need to know about the bizarre bust

It was supposed to be a moment of celebration.

Cristiano Ronaldo captained the Portugal national side to their first ever European Championship in the summer of 2016 and would be commemorated with his very own statue to mark the renaming of Funchal Airport in his honour.

The event didn't quite go to plan, however, as the bust that was eventually unveiled by president of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, bore little resemblance to the Real Madrid star.

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A year on, Goal takes a look at everything you need to know about the controversial statue.

Who made the Ronaldo statue?

The man behind the design was Madeiran artist Emanuel Santos, who previously worked at the airport in which the statue was revealed. 

After widespread criticism of his work, Santos noted that not even Jesus pleased everyone, and has since made another attempt at recreating Ronaldo.

“It is impossible to please the Greeks and Trojans," he said. "Neither did Jesus please everyone.

“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. 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.”

Santos also stressed that his efforts were appreciated by the man himself.

"I was with the brother at Cristiano's museum in Madeira and from the messages he sent, I could tell that he liked what he saw.

"He only asked for some wrinkles to be changed, that give him a certain expression in his face when he's about to laugh.

"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 before they liked what they saw."

Santos was also sanctioned to sculpt a bust of Gareth Bale in Cardiff ahead of the 2017 Champions League final, though the final piece sparked a far more appreciated response.

Gareth Bale Statue/Bale Bust

Where is the Ronaldo statue?

Following Ronaldo's success with Portugal in the 2016 European Championships, Madeira's regional government mandated the name-change of the island's airport to Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport and revealed the statue as a tribute.

The decision to dedicate the airport to Ronaldo was met with much conflict, however, and a petition was started against the change soon after.

Ronaldo holds icon status in Madeira and also has hotels and a museum named after him following his romantic rise from the streets to five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Reaction to the statue

Cristiano Ronaldo statue Madeira AirportGetty Images

Immediately after the unveiling of the sculpture there was a mixed response, with Ronaldo himself seemingly happy with the result of Santos' work.

Social media reaction was not as positive, however, with members of the media, supporters and trolls aiming jokes at both the sculptor and the player himself. 

Worst football statues

Madeira Cristiano Ronaldo statue in Funchal

Santos' effort isn't the only Ronaldo tribute which has been criticised - the sculpture which stands outside the CR7 museum is regularly compared to former first-choice England goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Another statue of the Real Madrid star, unveiled by Nike in the Spanish capital in 2010, was also deprecated as a result of its blandness.

Diego Maradona's statue inside the Boca Juniors museum in Buenos Aires holds a fair likeness of the Argentina icon, though the accuracy of the12-foot effort which was erected in his honour in India at the back end of 2017 was fairly ridiculed.

David Beckham's silver statue in London was also targeted by critics, as was Alexis Sanchez's statue in his hometown of Tocopilla, Chile.

Luis Suarez, Michael Essien and Alexis Sanchez have all had pieces dedicated to them and all have suffered similar reaction to that of Ronaldo's airport bust, as has Newcastle legend Alan Shearer for the £250,000 statue of him outside St James' Park.

The title of the worst football-related statue, however, goes to Fulham's bizarre tribute to Michael Jackson outside Craven Cottage.