“This bust is much better than the other one, that’s what everyone thinks,” Hugo Aveiro, brother of the five-time Ballon d’or, winner, told the Diario de Noticias da Madeira newspaper.
“A Spanish sculptor offered this new bust … so good that we decided to change it,” he added.
The original was swapped Friday at the request of the Real Madrid superstar’s entourage, according to local media.
The original, by local artist Emanuel Santos, was unveiled 16 months ago at a ceremony to rename the airport after one of Madeira’s most famous sons, CR7 having been born in the capital Funchal.
But it was widely mocked, not least for its grimacing smile.
“The CR7 museum asked us to replace the bust in tribute to the athlete and we felt we ought to change it,” airport director Duarte Ferreira explained.
The Ronaldo museum opened in 2013 and a year later it unveiled a 3.40 metres (10 feet) statue which also caused some mirth owing to its figure-hugging shorts.
While his home island concentrates on his likenesses the real Ronaldo is busy at the World Cup. He notched a hat trick to earn a point against Spain a few hours after the airport bust was exchanged. DM