The bust of Cristiano Ronaldo at Madeira Airport which gained cult popularity has been replaced.
The sculpture of the Portugal and Real Madrid forward gained worldwide attention when it was installed last year at the airport, which is also known as Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira International Airport.
Pictures of the bust were shared widely on social media, with some critics suggesting it bore more of a resemblance to former Arsenal and Manchester City forward Niall Quinn or The Head from BBC television programme ‘Art Attack’ than Ronaldo.
Madeiran artist Emanuel Santos was tasked with creating the image of Ronaldo and spent three weeks on the project, with the bust unveiled when the airport was renamed in Ronaldo’s honour in March 2017.
However, an airport spokeswoman confirmed Spanish news reports that the old bust had been removed. She told Press Association Sport the switch took place on Friday, the same day that Ronaldo scored a hat-trick for Portugal in a 3-3 draw against Spain at the World Cup.
A new bust that appeared to present a greater likeness of Ronaldo was pictured in the Spanish and Portuguese media.
Santos said at the time of the unveiling last year, when the bust was ridiculed: “This is a matter of taste, so it is not as simple as it seems. What matters is the impact that this work generated.”
The new statue is not to everyone’s taste though, with a petition launched online to have the heavily mocked previous version put back in place.
The petition, on peticaopublica.com, is titled ‘Petition for the immediate return of Cristiano Ronaldo’s bust to Madeira airport’ and calls the original bust “an attraction for our island” and said its substitute was unacceptable.
Ronaldo was born and raised on Madeira.