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Statue Mania: Why the sudden craze for glorified monuments ?

Statue Mania: Why the sudden craze for glorified monuments ?
GARBER SPORTS

Have we all gone bonkers or are we all simply keeping up with the trend?

It started back in 2017 but now it seems to be the coolest way to tell the word you are a celebrity. Cristiano Ronaldo, the golden child of Portugal, simply turned Madeira to Ronaldo Island with his images and statues erected all over the place. Now, it is Micheal Essien and I must

That Michael Essien statue is not the only questionable statue in sport

Ronaldo’s Niall Quinn lookalike, a Paavo Nurmi nude, and a 7ft tribute to Jacko – these are the weirdest statues in sport

We’re just a few days into the new year, but 2018 has already proved to be brilliant for ex-Chelsea star Michael Essien. He has been informed that a statue has been erected in his honour in Kumasi, Ghana, his country of birth. He has of course re-tweeted the image of the shrine.

What a lovely gesture. Though, it’s not been received universally well…

There are so many things to unpack here – the proportion of trunk to lower half, the wincingly awkward posture, the angular face, that has a passing resemblance to Kryten from Red Dwarf…

Still, it’s quite the compliment to have someone – or some people – create a statue of you.

The Essien statue comes hot on the heels of the Diego Maradona work of art that was unveiled in the Indian city of Kolkata in December 2017. It depicted a young Diego (complete with a rather healthy mop of hair) lifting the 1986 World Cup trophy, which he led Argentina to win.

Not everyone was convinced of the likeness…

Some thought it looks more like the Crystal Palace manager, Roy Hodgson.

Others that it has a touch of the Boston Celtics NBA legend Larry Bird.

And one fella reckoned it was more like a character from a 1980s American soap opera. Niche reference.

We’d argue there’s more than a passing look of the late Blind Date host Cilla Black.

If the artists behind the Essien and Maradona statues feel a little hard done by at the comments they’ve received for their work, they can at least take comfort with the fact there are plenty of other sporting statues which have caused a little bit of bemusement. Here are just a few more examples.

Cristiano Ronaldo – Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal

In March 2017, Madeiran artist Emmanuel Santos unveiled this bust to adorn the newly named Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo in Funchal on the island of Madeira.

Not everyone was convinced. Niall Quinn must have felt honoured though.

Despite some ridicule online, the artist was defiant. 

“It was impossible to please the Greeks and Trojans. Nor did Jesus please everyone,” he told The Guardian. “What matters is the impact that this work generated. There is always the possibility of making a difference. I was prepared for all this.”

“Nor did Jesus please everyone.” We don’t think he’s referring to either Navas or Gabriel either.

Ted Bates – St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton

Blink and you would have missed it. This statue of Ted Bates, who devoted 50 years of his life to Southampton Football Club, as a player, coach and manager, was pulled less than a week after it was unveiled in 2007, on account of outraged reactions from fans.

Bates, who died in 2003, made 216 appearances for Saints as a player, scoring 64 times, and managed the club between 1955 and 1973.

Fans weren’t pleased that the likeness, which cost £102,000, was slightly, er, out of proportion. Jimmy Krankie anyone?

A more fitting tribute was unveiled in 2008.

Andy Murray – Shanghai, China

Here’s Andy Murray greeting his own terracotta statue at the Shanghai Masters in 2011. Amazing how they’ve really managed to capture his more animated side.

The defending champion retained his title, beating David Ferrer in the final. Not sure if he retained the statue though.

Carlos Valderrama – Santa Marta, Colombia

Since 2002, visitors to the Eduardo Santos stadium, home of Colombian football side Union Magdalena, have been treated to this massive, bronze statue of the great Colombian national player Carlos Valderrama.

Magdalena were the creative midfielder’s first club. All we can say is, fair play to the artist Amilkar Ariza for the graft it must have taken to recreate those locks.

Paavo Nurmi – Helsinki, Finland

Finnish distance runner Paavo Nurmi is considered one of the best of all time. In 1923, he held world records in three track events, including the mile, 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres.

This statue outside the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki casts him completely naked. We’re not too sure where they did their research for this.

Michael Jackson – Craven Cottage, London

Michael Jacksongettyimages

It’s hard to believe that it actually happened now, isn’t it? Did former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed really install a 7ft 6in statue of Michael Jackson outside of Craven Cottage in 2011?

Mr Al Fayed insisted that the pop legend was a Fulham fan and resisted calls to pull down the statue.

However, after the club was sold to Shahid Khan, the statue beat it in 2013. Al Fayed has attributed Fulham’s relegation from the Premier League in 2014 to that statue being removed.

“This statue was a charm and we removed the luck from the club and now we have to pay the price,” he said. “When [Khan] asked me to move it, I said: ‘You must be crazy.’ This is such a fantastic statue, which the fans are crying out for. But now he has paid the price because the club has been relegated. He called me because he told me he wanted Michael to return. I told him, no way.”

The statue was moved to the National Football Museum, and Fulham are still in the Championship.


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