Move over Cristiano Ronaldo. Mohamed Salah is the latest soccer star to have a statue made in his honor go viral on the internet for all the wrong reasons.
A sculpture of the Liverpool and Egypt star was recently unveiled in the forward’s home country and quickly had soccer fans on social media raising eyebrows, as the BBC News is reporting. The statue was on display on Sunday at the World Youth Forum (WYF), which was being held in Sharm al-Sheikh.
The artwork depicts the forward with an oversized head and unusually short and skinny legs, with his arms out wide in his signature goal celebration. Social media users were quick to point out that the sculpture, however, has a stronger resemblance to British singer Leo Sayer and Marv, the burglar from the film Home Alone, as BBC News reported. Others drew comparisons between Salah’s sculpture and Art Garfunkel from the folk-rock duo Simon & Garfunkel.
According to CNN, even the sculpture’s artist, Mai Abdel Allah, admitted she’s “not happy with it.”
She told Egypt’s state-run Al-Ahram online that she wanted to honor Salah in her work because of “the weight his name carries” and his importance “both inside Egypt and abroad,” adding that she is “not fully satisfied with the end product,” as per the CNN report.
After hearing about the criticism the statue received online, Abdel Allah said that she understood, given that she herself didn’t think it turned out how she had expected. She said that bronze didn’t do the mold justice, and added that she did not personally pour it because sculptors cannot do it on their own in Egypt.
“I welcome all criticisms this statue received; this is natural because an artist is subjected to a number of tastes but I am personally not happy with the statue’s final product,” Abdel Allah is quoted as saying by CNN.
Social media users were also quick to draw comparisons between Salah’s newly unveiled sculpture to that of Cristiano Ronaldo’s bust, which was, and continues to be, derided on social media after it was unveiled at the Madeira airport in March 2017.
The artist behind the infamous bust, Emanuel Jorge da Silva Santos, has addressed the sadness he feels about the online mockery of his effort afterward, as per the BBC News. Santos was later given a second chance to redo the bust the website The Bleacher Report. Ronaldo’s statue was later destroyed and replaced with the new and improved version, according to the BBC News report.