The Argentinian soccer club River Plate is facing backlash from fans for exaggerating the genitals on a new sculpture of former coach Marcelo Gallardo.
The 47-year-old Gallardo, who left the team at the end of 2022, had won 14 trophies as a player for River before leading the team to seven international trophies as its coach. His career was celebrated with the unveiling of the new 26-foot-tall bronze statue on Saturday.
“In River Forever,” the team wrote in a post on Instagram from the unveiling of the sculpture at Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires.
River’s post garnered commentary from fans who noted that the team “had to crop the photo” for it to pass Instagram’s tough censors.
“Couldn’t find a good artist? The proportions are wrong, and the bulge thing seems crazy, it’s not even a real bulge, it’s a ball,” one fan said on Instagram. “It looks like a meme.”
The sculptor, Mercedes Savall, told that he and his assistants worked on the statue for four years and that Gallardo had no objections to the completed work.
“The package is something that Trillo specifically asked me for,” Savall told the newspaper, referring to the team’s director Carlos Trillo. “He told me to exaggerate that part.”
Trillo told the Associated Press that he has since heard the criticism from fans and is willing to have the artist adjust the work.
“I want this to go for all life and for everyone to like it,” Trillo said. “If there’s 1 percent of River fans that don’t like it and we can correct it, we will correct it.”