and other soccer sculptures
Erling Haaland was the signing of the summer, the striker leaving Borussia Dortmund to join Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
To commemorate Haaland’s rise to the top, a statue was built in Bryne, the Norwegian town where he grew up.
The sculpture depicted the City player in the kit of the Norway national team, with his customary No. 9 on his back.
It was the brainchild of businessman Tore Silvertsen. He spent €12,000 on the monument, which was carved from a tree trunk weighing around a tonne.
When it was unveiled, the statue was met with derision. It was dismissed as “ugly”, and there were complaints that it looked nothing like Haaland.
Speaking to The Sun, Silvertsen defended the statue: “Some have complained it’s too ugly, though let’s face it, Erling is not a pretty guy.”
The plan was to auction off the sculpture to help fund a hospital in Tanzania - but all that went out of the window when it was stolen.
The statue was pinched in late August, reportedly with the aid of crane!
Haaland is far from alone - there are other soccer players whose statues have attracted the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Bust of Cristiano Ronaldo
The bust is located at Madeira airport. A failed first attempt was replaced by a second version… which has been almost as harshly criticised.
Statue of Diego Armando Maradona
Created by a sculptor in Kolkata, India, the statue doesn’t do Maradona any favours.
Not all soccer players’ statues have courted controversy, though. Many have done full justice to their legendary subjects…
Manchester United's 'Holy Trinity'
This tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law is so iconic that it was even included in the Lego version of Old Trafford!
Moore, the only England captain to lift the World Cup, was immortalised in a sculpture that takes pride of place outside Wembley Stadium.
Built outside Benfica’s Estádio da Luz, this statue of Eusébio commemorates one of the greatest players ever to pull on the Portugal shirt.