Ronaldo statue: Sculptor Emanuel Santos takes another shot at bust

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Ronaldo standing by his bust at the unveilingImage copyright AFP
Image caption Ronaldo said he was “honoured” following the unveiling of the original bust last year

The sculptor behind a bronze bust of footballer Cristiano Ronaldo that was ridiculed on social media when it was unveiled last year has created another.

Emanuel Santos’s original statue sparked a wave of memes questioning its resemblance to the player after it was placed on display at Madeira airport.

One year on, Mr Santos aims to silence critics with a new piece commissioned by the website Bleacher Report.

Defending his work, he said: “I’m not what the media made me look like.”

In an emotional interview, Mr Santos told Bleacher Report that mockery of his initial work upset his family and made him feel “isolated”.

“I didn’t feel like speaking to anyone,” he said, adding: “Managing all of that was very hard.”

After being challenged to create a more traditional interpretation, Mr Santos said his plan was to produce a bust of the Portugal footballer displaying a “more serious” expression.

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Media captionCristiano Ronaldo’s statue: Internet reacts to bizarre statue of Cristiano Ronaldo

He admitted being “nervous” about possible criticism of his new piece, but said it was important not to let that prevent him from completing it.

“I want my son to understand that if he enjoys doing something very much, [he] doesn’t let himself be defeated with negative criticism,” he said.

While criticism of Mr Santos’s first sculpture was difficult for the 41-year-old to accept, it also received praise, not least from Ronaldo himself, and Mr Santos continues to defend his work.

“I liked the result [of the first bust] and was really proud of it. And if I had to do it again, I would make everything exactly the same,” Mr Santos said, adding that he had “laughed out of happiness and satisfaction” when it was completed.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The bust by Emanuel Santos, unveiled at Cristiano Ronaldo Airport in Funchal

Mr Santos said he was a huge fan of the Real Madrid striker, and that he had a connection with the player.

The amateur sculptor said at the time of the unveiling of the original statue that it was “not as simple as it seems” to create and that the work was “a matter of taste”.

“It is impossible to please the Greeks and Trojans. Neither did Jesus please everyone,” Mr Santos said.


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The first bust was revealed in March last year at a ceremony to name Madeira’s airport after Ronaldo, who is a local hero on the island for what is seen as his rags-to-riches success.

The original work, which took Mr Santos 15 days to complete, will remain on permanent display outside the terminal entrance.

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