Cairo – A sculpture of Egyptian star Mohamed Salah unveiled in his home country has been mocked and ridiculed on social media, with users offering names of people the statue more closely resembled.
The piece was on display at the World Youth Forum in Sharm El-Sheikh on Sunday and depicts the Liverpool striker pulling off his trademark celebration — arms spread out wide at his sides.
But the likeness was lost on most social media users, with many drawing comparisons with the much-ridiculed bust of Cristiano Ronaldo unveiled at Madeira Airport last year.
Twitter users offered up a number of names that the sculpture resembled closer, from 1970s singers Leo Sayer or Art Garfunkel, to the character Marv from the movie Home Alone.
Sculptor Mai Abdullah, who produced the work, said she was “inspired to make the statue by Salah’s gesture of opening his arms to the fans” after scoring goals, which he did with ease last season as he fired Liverpool to a top-four finish in the Premier League.
“I found it to be distinguished and executable,” she told the Egypt Independent.
"The negative comments will not frustrate or have an effect on me, but I do hope that people would learn the art of police and respectful criticism," Abdullah wrote in response to a wave of ridicule on social media networks.
Salah has not publicly commented on the statue.
Emanuel Jorge da Silva Santos, who sculpted the Ronaldo bust, said he had been sad about the online criticism of his effort after its unveiling. He was later given a second chance at it by website The Bleacher Report.
It was not clear if Mai Abdullah would be doing similar and making a different version of the Salah sculpture.