FUNCHAL, Portugal — Cristiano Ronaldo has an airport named after him, but it was his odd-looking statue that attracted attention in Wednesday's ceremony honoring the Portugal star in his hometown.
The player's bronze bust, which was unveiled to much fanfare by Portugal's president and prime minister on the island of Madeira, hardly does the handsome footballer justice.
It squashes his eyes close together, and the cheeky raised-eyebrow smile more resembles a leer. The face is also unusually chubby, in contrast to Ronaldo's chiseled looks.
Dozens of guests and hundreds of fans were at the unveiling of the bust in Ronaldo's native Madeira Islands. It was part of an official ceremony to rename the local airport as Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo also attended the ceremony, but did not show any signs of being bothered by the odd look of his newly unveiled bust.
The bust's sculptor, Madeira native Emanuel Santos, said it took him 15 days to create the statue. He said he presented the project to local officials when it was about half done and received the go-ahead to continue with his work.
"It's always a great honor to work on project like that," Santos told local television channel RTP. "I still haven't had the chance to personally talk to (Ronaldo), but I'll try to reach out to him to know his feedback."
Ronaldo's full-body statue outside his museum in Funchal also does not do a very good depiction of the Real Madrid star, although it better resembles the player.