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.
This Mo Salah statue is certainly something… 😂🙈 pic.twitter.com/DPE0k9iBlg
— Mo Salah Facts (@MoSalahFacts) November 4, 2018
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.
What is it with footballers and statues?
— www.OTBFootball.net (OverTheBar) ⚽️✍️🗣📺 (@OverTheBarFB) November 5, 2018
Some, meanwhile, suggested the statue resembled Todd Flanders of US-cartoon The Simpsons.
Why does the Mo Salah statue look like Todd Flanders?!😂😂 pic.twitter.com/rGgGnrSzk1
— Laura💞 (@MursAndSalah) November 5, 2018
To one person, it was the spitting image of British musician Leo Sayer.
Nah. Anyone who thinks that Salah statue isn't Leo Sayer is wrong. pic.twitter.com/EZUPMwOORf
— Tom (@TomParkes_) November 5, 2018
For another, American singer Art Garfunkel, of Simon and Garfunkel fame.
— Mikey C (@MikeyC1102) November 5, 2018
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”.
🇪🇬🙏 Can't see anything wrong with this Salah statue, fits in perfectly… pic.twitter.com/DVZrF5TXNn
— thesportsman (@TheSportsman) November 4, 2018
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.