Mocked Cristiano Ronaldo statue removed from Madeira airport

A controversial statue of Cristiano Ronaldo has been replaced, at his family's request.

The bust which was positioned at Madeira Airport was widely mocked for looking little like the Portugal and Real Madrid star when it was unveiled in March 2017.

It was commissioned as part of renaming the airport after Ronaldo, who spent his formative years on the island.

The first version was likened to Niall Quinn. Credit: PA

His family, through the CR7 Museum, have now had the statue changed at the airport.

Sculpted by Emanuel Santos, the original work received worldwide criticism as it was liked to the former Manchester City and Republic of Ireland striker Niall Quinn.

"This is a matter of taste, so it is not as simple as it seems. What matters is the impact that this work generated," Santos said at the time.

The new statue was sculpted by a different artist. Credit: PA

Since his first attempt, Santos was commissioned by Bleacher Report to try again, providing a far more successful attempt.

The new version provides a greater likeness of Ronaldo but has lost the charm of the previous effort, much to the chagrin of island residents.

A number of locals, however, are unhappy that the first version has been ditched and have started a petition to get it returned to its rightful place.

The petition has already been signed by over 300 people.

Santos was not informed of its removal prior to it being taken away.

A spokesperson for the airport confirmed the statue was removed on Friday, the same day the forward scored a hat-trick in Portugal's 3-3 draw with Spain at the World Cup.