“Horrifying” bust of CR7 sculpted by self-taught unemployed former airport cleaner

While stories of the “horrifying” bust of football hero Cristiano Ronaldo have been travelling the world since Madeira airport was renamed in his honour, the sculptor – an unemployed former cleaner at the complex – has been telling Rádio Renascença that as far as he is concerned the work has been well received.

40-year-old Emanuel Santos is actually hoping the bust – which has been likened to Bowser from Super Mario Brothers, Crazy Eyes from the comedy film Mr Deeds and Sloth from the Goonies – could “open doors” for him in the future.

Quite where those doors might lead, however, is open to speculation.

Santos appeared unaware of the brouhaha yesterday as RR diplomatically posed some questions.

Elsewhere, from the Telegraph in UK, to CNN in the U.S. the world’s media was going to town.

The Telegraph stressed adjectives in the air ranged from “questionable to horrifying”, while the Sun carried lurid shots of contemporary ‘monsters’, and tweets from footballing VIPs like Tom Williams who suggested that “for a very handsome man, Ronaldo has had some appalling luck with statue-makers”.

As the paper explains, the full body depiction of the star in front of his own museum on the island is “equally ropy”, while a silver tribute displayed in Madrid has been accused of depicting him as overweight.

But at least the airport bust sculptor appears uncowed.

Santos told RR that he sculpted Madeira’s local hero in “less than 15 days” and that it was he who actually suggested the commission to airport authorities.

Ronaldo and his family were ‘positive’ throughout, added the bespectacled Madeiran, and although images today are of Ronaldo and dignitaries apparently in giggles in front of the bust, the world’s most famous footballer is understood to have given Santos the thumbs up when he saw him at yesterday’s ceremony.

“He told me he liked it”, Santos told RR – which actually elevates CR7’s sense of fair play to a new level.

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