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Paddy Power hires Ronaldo sculptor to do Bale Bust

2017-06-26 11:27:02

The betting company that is practically synonymous with kooky and provocative advertisements and publicity stunts have decided to bring the controversial Portuguese sculptor Emanuel Santos back into the spotlight to produce another of his bronze ‘Art’ works this time of Ronaldo’s Real Madrid co-star and Welsh Wonderboy Gareth Bale. The piece was commissioned to coincide with Saturday’s Champions League Final clash against Juventus.

A Bad First Impression


When Emanuel Santos’ statue at the Madeira airport of local hero Cristiano Ronaldo was first shown back in March a storm of criticism and mockery came flooding in due to its, let’s say abstract resemblance to its subject.

The story captured the imagination of people around the world who instantly got to work creating image macros of the bust compared to the real thing, in team photos and replacing the actual head of Ronaldo to hilarious results. All of this accumulated in the artist withdrawing somewhat from the public eye in order to shield himself from the media coverage.

Ronaldo himself seemed to be in good spirits about the whole thing and was sincerely honoured by the attempt and the reverence that the local people had for him that prompted the statue and the airport’s name change. Santos however stuck to his guns and was adamant that the work was good using the defence: “Even Jesus did not please everyone” and that “It’s not as easy as it seems”. Of course, he’s right on that last point, sculpting a face out of metal is not easy which is generally why only people skilled enough to do it right are commissioned….

Better Bale Than Never


Ever ready to jump on a popular trend or joke and cause a little bit of mischief with the goal of self-promotion Paddy Power set to work in contacting and hiring Santos for their Bale Bust idea. The company claims that it was a long and difficult process to contact and negotiate with the Portuguese sculptor but managed it through “good old-fashioned PR and investigative journalism.” Santos seemed up for it when they eventually got hold of him as I’m sure he was hoping for a chance to redeem himself in the media.

After a reported 264 hours of hard work from Santos to mould and cast the head and shoulders of the player the bust was complete. The tension on unveiling day must have been palpable, but for Paddy Power, both a successful bust or a repeat of the Ronaldo fiasco would be a good narrative for the PR team. In the end, the bust turned out fine, the resemblance is certainly more present than in the original sculpt although there is a strange likeness to Hulk Hogan from some angles.

Paddy Power has claimed that the bust was valued at £25,000 by an independent gallery and it will go on display at the Paddy Power branch in the Welsh capital of Cardiff.