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Sculptor behind infamous Cristiano Ronaldo bust redeems himself with improved version

Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo stands past a bust at the Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport Madeira island, on March 29, 2017.
Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo stands past a bust at the Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport Madeira island, on March 29, 2017. FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images

Portuguese sculptor Emanuel Santos has unveiled a new and improved statue of soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, in an effort to redeem himself after his bungled bust from 2017.

Santos was widely seen to have scored an artistic own goal with his March 2017 bust of Ronaldo, which attracted widespread mockery and derision for not exactly evoking the Real Madrid forward’s famous, model-like facial features.

READ MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo statue revealed, Twitter has a field day

The infamous bronze bust — which sits on display at the airport that bears Ronaldo’s name, Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport on the Portuguese island of Madeira — went viral for all the wrong reasons, becoming one of the most memed images of 2017, and one of the most mocked sculptures in recent memory.

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Santos vehemently defended his effort at the time, famously remarking that “even Jesus couldn’t please everyone.”

WATCH: Odd-looking Ronaldo bust steals the show at airport ceremony

Click to play video: 'Odd-looking Ronaldo bust steals the show at airport ceremony' Odd-looking Ronaldo bust steals the show at airport ceremony
Odd-looking Ronaldo bust steals the show at airport ceremony – Mar 29, 2017

But on Thursday, exactly one year after that infamous bust was revealed, Santos unveiled a significantly better version, after being challenged to do so by digital sports outlet Bleacher Report.

In an in-depth interview with the Bleacher Report, Santos revealed that he was working as a baggage handler and custodian at the Madeira airport, when he came upon the idea of creating a bust of the Portugal captain to mark the occasion of the airport being renamed in his honour.

Santos says he had never created a bust before, or had any of his creations bronzed, and that he and his family were affected by the intensity of ridicule levelled at him on social media and news stories around the world.

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However, he jumped at the opportunity to redeem himself, creating a new bust that looks to be a far better likeness of the record-breaking soccer legend.

The new Ronaldo bust will not replace Santos’ original toothy, bulgy-eyed effort at the Madeira airport, but is instead being displayed at the Bleacher Report’s offices in London, U.K.

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