It seems becoming the laughing stock of Europe was too much for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has bid adios to Real Madrid and hasta la vista, baby to his dodgy airport bust after accepting a billion dollar move to mega rich Chinese Super League club Chongqing Lifan FC.
The Portuguese football player’s global success had earlier this week inspired the renaming of the airport after him in his native Madeira Islands. The ceremony was marked with the unveiling of a bust of Ronaldo's head, commissioned to take pride of place at the airport itself.
But pride turned to humiliation when the mangled statue sent the internet into a Photoshop frenzy. Livid, the 32-year-old vowed it was time to turn his back on the European haters, and instructed 'super agent' Jorge Mendes to broker a lucrative move to China.
The deal looked doomed from the outset, however, when the slighted star insisted on a move to Xi’an, a city that no longer has a football team after Shaanxi Renhe FC moved to Guizhou at the beginning of the 2012 Chinese Super League season.
"Have you seen Xi’an’s Terracotta Army?" asked the irate Adonis. "That is a city that knows how to do respect through statues. Each one those 8,000 figures has individualized facial features - each one perfection itself. What did I get? A second hand bust of that ugly Irish donkey Niall Quinn…"
In the end Mendes talked the Portugal captain into the move to Chongqing by pointing out that the Leshan Giant Buddha, at 71 meters the tallest pre-modern statue in the world, was just up the road in Sichuan.
"The plan is to build one of Cristiano right next to it," explained Mendes. "Only his one will be 77 meters tall. It is a refence to Cristiano's number 7 shirt and CR7 underwear brand, but mostly it must be bigger as the lad really needs a lift to his spirits right now."
"And anyway, how many Ballon d’Or did the Buddha ever win?"