Battle of the statues: Fans troll Ronaldo yet again after Messi honoured with new sculpture

Netizens were quick to draw comparisons between the Al Nassr football star's infamous Madeira bust and the PSG player's life-size sculpture

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Published: Tue 28 Mar 2023, 6:48 PM

Last updated: Wed 29 Mar 2023, 1:31 AM

There are perhaps few greater honours for a football player to receive than a statue to mark his triumphs on the pitch. The likes of Pele, Diego Maradona, David Beckham, and Cristiano Ronaldo have all been immortalised in this way for their contribution to the game.

On Monday, Argentine hero Lionel Messi was the latest to be honoured with a life-size statue. Messi, holding a replica of the World Cup trophy, looked emotional during the unveiling ceremony at the South American Football Federation headquarters in Luque, Paraguay before the Copa Libertadores draw.

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

At 5ft 7 inch, Messi looked noticeably smaller than the life-like figure in his Argentina kit; both were pictured holding the World Cup trophy. However, Twitterati immediately went into overdrive, reckoning Messi's sculpture easily won the 'battle of the statues' against rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Football fans were quick to dig out the infamous Ronaldo metal bust which was displayed at Madeira airport in March 2017 — a statue heavily criticised for looking nothing like the Al Nassr star.

Designed by Emanuel Santos, Ronaldo's bronze statue got a resounding negative response and lasted just over a year before it was replaced with a second, more traditional version of the bust Santos created.

Now, fans have declared the Argentine hero winner of the 'statue battle'. Some also pointed out that Messi's statue holds 'more World Cup' than Ronaldo, a dig into the fact that the Portuguese forward doesn't have the prestigious Fifa trophy under his belt.

For his part, Lionel Messi was beyond grateful in light of the honour. "I had never dreamed or thought about this," Messi said. "My dream was to enjoy what I liked when I was little, to be a professional soccer player, to do what I always loved in this life.

"I had a very long road, many decisions and defeats, but I always looked ahead and wanted to go for a triumph, for a victory. I think that is the most important thing, to fight for your dreams, that everything is possible and to enjoy the game, which is the most beautiful thing there is."

The 35-year-old emulated the late Maradona by leading Argentina to their first World Cup triumph in 36 years in Qatar in December.

The Argentine Football Federation renamed the national team's training facility after Messi on Saturday, two days after he scored his 800th career goal in a 2-0 friendly win over Panama.

Messi has scored 99 goals for his country and would become the first Argentina player to net 100 international goals if he scores in Tuesday's friendly against Curacao.

Inputs from Reuters


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