MADEIRA: Cristiano Ronaldo had an international airport renamed in his honour on Wednesday but it was a newly unveiled bust of him that soon became a major talking point.
Five thousand screaming fans, the Portuguese talisman himself and the country’s prime minister and the president were all in attendance at the airport of Madeira, the island where Ronaldo was born.
“To see this airport bear my name is a very special thing,” said Ronaldo, 32, who skippered Portugal to victory in the European championships last year.
“Everyone knows I am proud of my roots.”
Real Madrid star Ronaldo, speaking at a naming ceremony also attended by his family, added: “I didn’t ask for this but I’m not a hypocrite and I acknowledge that it honours me, and that makes me happy.”
Also presented was a grinning bust of one of the greatest footballers of all time.
Mockery of statue
But aside from the hair, which looked suitably similar, social media users were quick to mock the statue as nothing like him and even horrifying.
“Seriously, I look more like Cristiano Ronaldo than that bust,” said the Twitter user DiscoHobbit.
The BBC called the bust “bizarre”.
Ronaldo already has a museum and bronze statue in his honour in his birth town of Funchal.
He follows in the footsteps of Northern Ireland legend George Best, who also wore the number seven shirt in his time at Manchester United and had Belfast airport named after him.
Portugal played their first match in Madeira since 2001 on Tuesday, going down 3-2 to Sweden.
Ronaldo’s 71st goal for his country in the defeat saw the striker go level in third place with German Miroslav Klose in the list of Europe’s all-time top international goalscorers behind Hungarian duo Sandor Kocsis and leader Ferenc Puskas.
‘Twitter had a field day’
The Cristiano Ronaldo bust at the airport carrying his name. This is Art Attack… pic.twitter.com/tTVmQBMgms
— Simon Peach (@SimonPeach) March 29, 2017
For a very handsome man, Ronaldo has had some appalling luck with statue-makers pic.twitter.com/M74YEDng4c
— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) March 29, 2017
I honestly cannot get over how much Ronaldo’s statue looks like Niall Quinn 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/C84G7CAWIi
— Sway (@Swayam_93) March 29, 2017
New horror movie trope: Ronaldo’s bronze face. pic.twitter.com/MKrumgHdLv
— The Football Ramble (@FootballRamble) March 29, 2017
Some of the all-time great Cristiano Ronaldo moments pic.twitter.com/57Tx9VhbUm
— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) March 29, 2017
I don’t know what you’re talking about guys, I think the Ronaldo statue looks pretty good pic.twitter.com/JIUwQBuqUY
— keewa (@keewa) March 29, 2017
That new Ronaldo statue is amazing. Incredible likeness. pic.twitter.com/lXLPsfQnvH
— John Sheehan (@johnsportraits) March 29, 2017