As one of the world's top two soccer players, Cristiano Ronaldo has one of the most famous faces on the planet. He appears on underwear ads, video games, and shaving commercials across the globe, from the US, to China. In Portugal, he's a demigod, but he's even a draw as far away as Japan, where his ultra-recognizable face is used to sell dubious mouth-toning devices.
It's a face that's memorable to everyone, it seems, except the person who was recently tasked with recreating it in bronze. Ronaldo's global success had inspired the renaming of an airport in his native Madeira Islands — an event celebrated with a bust of Ronaldo's head, commissioned to take pride of place at the airport itself.
At least, it's meant to be Ronaldo. The finished product makes the famously handsome man into something of a monster, squaring his head, shrinking his eyes, and inflating his bones to horrific levels. It looks like someone having a bad reaction to hair dye, or like the Goonies' Sloth after some partially successful plastic surgery, and as is to be expected in these situations, the internet went wild.
The Photoshops were almost immediate, depicting Calamity Ronaldo (as I'd like him to be known) as Batman's Two-Face, Mass Effect's eerily animated main character, Han Solo frozen in carbonite, BioShock's Andrew Ryan, and as IT, the monster hiding in the sewers. Others went the other way, mapping the unheimlich contours of the bust's face onto the real man's real face, making his head lumpen and his eyes scream "kill me."
It's early in 2017, but this already feels like this year's Botched Jesus Fresco. The effect is amplified even further when the man himself was pictured smiling gamely next to his horrible bronze brother. I would feel bad for Ronaldo, but as my colleague Sam Byford pointed out, there are worse things that could happen than looking better in real life than a bronze idol dedicated to your physical gifts.