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Statue of footballer Mo Salah draws online ridicule

Tuesday November 6, 2018

The bronze artwork depicts Salah performing his trademark goal-scoring celebration [Ayman Aref/AP]

Figurine of Egyptian footballing star draws comparisons with Simpsons character, famous musicians and Home Alone actor.

Renowned for his humble nature, no one could accuse football star Mohamed Salah of being big-headed.

Until now, that is.

Born in Nagrig in northern Egypt, Salah is widely adored in his home country and headed the north African nation's successful push to qualify for this year's football World Cup.

But a new bronze statue of the 26-year-old has raised eyebrows across the world for its curiously ill-proportioned body parts, including its abnormally large head.

Made by artist Mai Abdullah, the figurine became a talking point on Twitter shortly after being put on display on Sunday at the World Youth Forum (WYF) in Sharm el-Sheikh, a resort town in Egypt's northeastern  Sinai Peninsula.

The artwork, which depicts Salah performing his trademark goal-scoring celebration, was widely ridiculed for its apparently poor resemblance to the Liverpool player.

Commentators honed their criticism on its unusually short and skinny legs, ill-scaled head and unrealistic hair.

Independent football website Over The Bar said it was more akin to Marv from Home Alone than Salah.

Some, meanwhile, suggested the statue resembled Todd Flanders of US-cartoon The Simpsons.

To one person, it was the spitting image of British musician Leo Sayer.

For another, American singer Art Garfunkel, of Simon and Garfunkel fame.

Abdullah, the artist, told Egypt Independent she was inspired to recreate Salah as he was a "symbol of excellence in life for Egypt's youth".

In a Facebook post, she also called for critics to act "politely" and with "respect".

Salah himself has made no public comment about the statue.

He's perhaps getting his head down before Liverpool's upcoming European Champions League fixture against Serbian side Red Star Belgrade, which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday.


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