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Footballers are often immortalized with statues outside of stadiums, to commemorate their achievements and legacy in the sport. But not all statues are created equal. Some capture the essence of the footballer they represent, while others fall short, leaving fans and critics scratching their heads.
One footballer in particular who has been immortalized in statue form is Lionel Messi. The diminutive Argentinian has had a number of statues made to honor his career, and they have been met with both praise and criticism.
The first statue of Messi was unveiled in 2013 outside the Camp Nou, Barcelona's home stadium. The statue was created by sculptor Jose Antonio Navarro Arteaga, and it depicts Messi in the act of scoring a goal. The statue has been widely praised for its realism and for capturing the essence of Messi on the pitch.
The second statue of Messi was unveiled in 2016 outside of the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This statue, created by sculptor Andres Zerneri, depicts Messi in a more relaxed pose. The statue has been met with a mixed reaction, with some praising it for its creativity and others criticizing it for not accurately conveying Messi's likeness.
The third statue of Messi was unveiled in 2018 outside the Johan Cruyff Stadium in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This statue, created by sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi, is a more traditional depiction of the footballer, with his arms outstretched in a triumphant pose. The statue has been widely praised for capturing the essence of Messi and for its impressive size.
Other footballers who have been immortalized in statue form include Diego Maradona, Cristiano Ronaldo, Pelé and Diego Simeone. Maradona's statue, created by sculptor Maurizio Savini, was unveiled outside the Estadio Diego Armando Maradona in Buenos Aires in 2018. The statue is a faithful representation of Maradona, and it has been praised for its accuracy and for the way it captures Maradona's personality.
Ronaldo's statue, created by sculptor Ricardo Veloza, was unveiled outside the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid in 2014. The statue has been met with a mixed reaction, with some praising it for its realism and others criticizing it for being too stylized.
Pelé's statue, created by sculptor Miguel Valenzuela, was unveiled outside the Estadio do Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro in 2014. The statue has been widely praised for its realism and for the way it captures Pelé's signature celebration.
Lastly, Simeone's statue, created by sculptor Luis Vallejo, was unveiled outside the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid in 2018. The statue has been praised for its realism and for the way it captures Simeone's passion and intensity.
Overall, it is clear that some footballers have better statues than others. Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, Cristiano Ronaldo, Pelé and Diego Simeone all have statues that successfully capture their essence and legacy in the sport. However, there are also some statues of these footballers that have been met with mixed reactions, proving that not all statues are created equal.