The artist behind a much-maligned sculpture of Cristiano Ronaldo claims the Real Madrid superstar is happy with the design.
An unveiling at Madeira airport on Wednesday caused quite a stir, with the design being questioned by many.
Ronaldo was on hand to pass judgement on the work, though, and was happy to pose for photographs as he was honoured by the island on which he grew up.
Emanuel Santos, creator of the piece, insists the 32-year-old also gave his approval before the grand reveal, with the Euro 2016 winner clearly not overly concerned by the opinion of others.
“Even Jesus did not please everyone. This is a matter of taste, it’s not as simple as it seems,” Santos said in an interview with Portuguese website Globo Sports.
The tribute has also been welcomed by Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, with Ronaldo considered to be “an example of excellence [that] projects Madeira and Portugal across the world far more than anybody else.”
Ronaldo is the current holder of the prestigious Ballon d’Or crown – a title has now claimed on four occasions – while his efforts in Madrid this season have delivered 26 goals to domestic and Champions League campaigns.
“I used photos of Cristiano Ronaldo that I searched on the internet as a base. I put the photos next to me and started working on the bust.
“What matters is the impact that this work generates. There is always the possibility of making a difference, I was prepared for all this.”
Santos added: “Cristiano saw the photos that his brother sent him. I was with the brother at Cristiano’s museum in Madeira and from the messages he sent, I could tell that he liked what he saw.”
While not addressing the issue of the sculpture directly, Ronaldo did speak of his delight at seeing his achievements recognised in his native Portugal.
He said: “Seeing my name being given to this airport is something very special, everyone knows that I am proud of my country and especially my home city.
“Thank you very much to the president of the regional government Miguel Albuquerque for having had the courage and the firmness to do it.”
The 32-year-old later posted on Twitter: “Happy and honored to have my name given to the Madeira airport!”