Diego Maradona statue in India sees him join Ronaldo and Michael Jackson in list of beautiful game’s ugliest statues

Argentine World Cup winner suffers similar fate to other soccer stars in being botched in bronze

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 December, 2017, 7:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 December, 2017, 9:11am

Diego Maradona took time out on his tour of India to unveil a new statue in Calcutta capturing him lifting the World Cup in 1986. The only trouble is, it doesn’t really resemble the Argentine superstar, it looks more like Steve Bruce during his playing days.

Such misrepresentation is not a problem unique to Maradona, though, as the beautiful game has a particular problem with ugly statues.

And weird ones.

They do not come much weirder than the King of Pop. A statue of Michael Jackson was erected outside Fulham’s Craven Cottage ground by then chairman Mohammed al-Fayed, a friend of the singer. Needless to say it was a move that did not go down well with the Fulham faithful.

The statue was moved to the National Football Museum in Manchester after al-Fayed sold the club and MJ was not wanted by incoming owner Shahid Khan.

When Cristiano Ronaldo became one of the few living people to have an airport named after them, Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport in Funchal, Madeira, the authorities decided to splash out on a bust.

Apparently, they sent the sculptor a photo of Australian boxer Danny Green instead of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. Although social media put forward a host of other candidates it could have been based on, the agreement was that it was not Ronaldo and much merriment was to be had at his expense.

While the airport has since commissioned a much better likeness that is not the only time that the Portuguese serial winner has been the subject of ridicule for an artist’s representation of him.

It happened in 2014 with the opening of his own museum, also in Funchal. While his face bore more of a resemblance, that is not where most people were focused.

Premier League side Southampton chose to show their respect for former player, coach, manager, board member and club president Ted Bates with a statue in 2007.

The end product proved controversial, not least for its more than passing resemblance to the chairman of their hated rivals, Portsmouth.

The offending statue was quickly replaced with one that looked more like Bates and had slightly more realistic proportions.

Former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson – or “Svennis”, as is carved on the plinth – was honoured with a statue in his hometown of Torby, Sweden, in 2002.

The statue of the Swede has since moved from the tourist office (and supermarket) to the town’s swimming pool. Embarrassingly, this deliberate likeness of the one-time Guangzhou R&F, Shanghai SIPG and Shenzhen Ruby manager is not the most accurate.

Many visitors to Glasgow wonder why they can see a Sven statue outside the city’s Royal Concert Hall. It’s not the former England boss – even if Scotland could be proud of his handling of England’s “golden generation” – but the inaugural first minister of Scotland, Donald Dewar.

Maradona can console himself that things could always be worse. Fellow Argentine number 10 Leo Messi’s statue in Buenos Aires has been vandalised twice in the last year, the latest attack in early December left just the feet intact, while a statue of Messi’s former Barcelona teammate Samuel Eto’o in Douala, Cameroon, had its head chopped off.