Famous Football Player’s Statue Draws Criticisms

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. charitable / ˈtʃær ɪ tə bəl / (adj) – showing generosity

    The charitable actress donated to the orphanage.

  2. limelight / ˈlaɪmˌlaɪt / (n) – the focus of people’s attention

    The limelight was on the celebrity guest during the party.

  3. replica / ˈrɛp lɪ kə / (n) – a copy of an artwork

    The artist created a replica of his statue.

  4. preference / ˈprɛf ər əns, ˈprɛf rəns / (n) – a liking for something

    The artist expressed his preference for simplicity.

  5. mold / moʊld / (v) – to create a shape or form out of something

    The children molded their clay into cars, houses and trees.


Read the text below.

A statue portraying Portuguese football player Cristiano Ronaldo has made headlines for resembling another person.

Cristiano Ronaldo, a famous football player of the Real Madrid professional football club, has made a name for himself as a charitable athlete. To pay tribute to Ronaldo, the former Madeira / məˈdɪər ə /  Airport has been renamed to Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira International Airport in March. However, during a ceremony at the airport, the limelight was on his statue instead.

The athlete’s replica, which can be found outside the airport entrance, drew criticisms for resembling Irish football player Niall Quinn instead of Ronaldo. Some claimed that this was not the first time that a tribute to Ronaldo had gone wrong. For instance, his silver statue in Madrid has been perceived to be portraying him as overweight.

Despite the criticisms, sculptor Emanuel Santos defended his work, which took three weeks to create, by saying that the process was not simple and it was a matter of preference. Santos further explained that he molded the clay and sent it to a specialist who did the bronzing. Although Santos used Ronaldo’s photos while molding the clay, a mistake occurred during the bronzing process.

Santos assured that he was prepared for the criticisms because not everybody can be pleased. He believes that the work’s impact is what matters.  Although Ronaldo said that only the lines on the statue’s left eye should be removed to portray a younger version of himself, he sent personal messages to Santos to express his appreciation for the statue.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• If you were the sculptor, would you attempt to adjust the appearance of the statue to make it look more like Cristiano Ronaldo? Why or why not?
• Do you agree that works of art are a matter of preference? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• How can a sculptor ensure that his/her work will look like the person he/she is portraying?
• Why do you think some people are portrayed through statues?