On The Left Side

I’ve been on holiday this week.

A blissful week full of beer, sunshine and importantly, shut away from the world of football.

I have to say, on returning to the UK, I was rather surprised (and pleased) to see that the big story from the sport had not come from the usual trough of England’s lacklustre World Cup qualifier or the ongoing “will he, won’t he” saga of Arsene Wenger, but instead from the world of art.

My return to the world of the living was greeted by the grinning, bronzed face of Cristiano Ronaldo…or rather a face that the caption below views as that of Cristiano Ronaldo. In tribute to the Portuguese captain, a bust of his famous image had been placed in Madera airport to honour his efforts for the national team. Surely there must be some mistake? Instead of what was supposed to be the head and shoulders of the world’s most famous footballer, was a likeness of Raul Moat… or was it Niall Quinn… or maybe Sloth from ‘The Goonies’. It certainly wasn’t Ronaldo.

If somehow this horrifying spectacle has passed you by, let me give you a second to Google it. Go on, do it now. Amazing isn’t it?

The Portuguese island had commissioned the work to mark the changing name of their airport from Madeira International Airport to “The Cristiano Ronaldo Airport”. So now, next to the cheap fags and 2-litre bottles of booze lies a bronze bust, proudly looking nothing like the man that it is there to honour. A fact that was made only more obvious when Ronaldo himself posed next to it at the grand opening ceremony.

The internet responded in typical fashion by going to Photoshop town on the photos and generally poking fun at the hard work of artist Emanuel Santos, who had attempted to capture the Real Madrid striker’s likeness with about as much similarity as that of the hideous monstrosity sitting opposite you in Pizza Express shares with their Tinder profile picture. Very little.

This criticism didn’t affect the artist, however, who was bullish in his own response; “Even Jesus did not please everyone. This is a matter of taste, it’s not as simple as it seems. I have seen works by great artists that follow this parameter”. Even if he failed to capture Ronaldo’s image to good effect, at least he managed to capture a little of his arrogance.

Emanuel also had an explanation for why his work maybe didn’t match the superstar sportsman 100%, saying “I used photos that I searched on the internet as a base. I put the photos next to me and started working on the bust”. There is a lesson for any essay writing student everywhere…beware what you copy off the internet because most of it is WIDELY off the mark.

So now Ronaldo has a museum, two hotels, a town square and an airport named after him…what could be next? A diving school perhaps? A teeth whitening clinic? Maybe a medical institution for the criminally smug? Whatever the option, let’s hope they hire a competent sculpture this time around.

The one saving grace, however, is with the entire piece being cash out of golden bronze they managed to capture Ronaldo’s skin tone perfectly!

Jim is the voice of On The Left Side, the hilarious satirical football show. There is a new Episode out every Monday and you can hear the latest from the OTLS team here: