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09 Nov 2018 00:00
A woman takes a selfie with the Mohamed Salah statue displayed at the Egyptian resort Sharm El Sheikh. (AFP)
A statue of Liverpool footballer Mohamed Salah has been derided online after it went on display in his home country Egypt.
The statue was unveiled with pomp and ceremony at the World Youth Forum in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in the presence of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
With large ears poking out from under a huge Afro, Salah is captured in the pose of his goal celebration.
A broad smile is etched across his face and his oversized head is tilted backwards as the arms on his pint-sized body are stretched out wide.
Salah is idolised in Egypt and Liverpool, after his goal-scoring exploits last season took his country to the World Cup finals and his English club to the final of the Champions League.
Salah has been mocked widely on social media, with many comparing the statue of him to an infamous bronze bust of footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.
Others likened it to the statue of 1970s British singer Leo Sayer or his American counterpart Art Garfunkel.
“People thought Cristiano Ronaldo’s statue was bad. Wait till you see Mo Salah’s,” one Twitter user wrote, referring to the bronze bust ridiculed for looking nothing like the Portuguese football superstar.
“Statue carved by Stevie Wonder by the looks of it!” tweeted another, in reference to the blind American musician.
One social media user said Salah’s statue looked like a “bobble head” — the dolls placed on the dashboards of cars with oversized heads that nod incessantly.
“Oh god!!!!!! They made statue of dwarf Salah,” tweeted another.
“Yes, it’s a statue, but where is Mohamed Salah?” said a post on Facebook.
Mai Abdallah, the Egyptian artist who sculpted the statue, has defended her work.
She said the statue had been made of plaster but, much to her surprise, the forum’s organisers decided to pour bronze over it, which disfigured it.
In a post on Facebook, in which Abdallah also shared her other statues of Egyptian celebrities, she said the statue was originally meant to only be used teach students how to sculpt.
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