A mural of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo is partly seen painted on a house in Kazan, Russia, on Sunday, June 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Nikolay Alexandrov)
TALES AZZONI, AP Sports Writer
KAZAN, Russia (AP) — It’s been dubbed as the mural that no one can see.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been honored with a large mural with his image in the Russian city of Kazan, but it was painted on the facade of a private building that is only visible to hotel guests where Portugal’s team is staying for the Confederations Cup football tournament.
Ronaldo and his teammates can see the huge colorful depiction of the Portugal forward, but the public has no access to it. The image used was one of Ronaldo winking to his teammates when former Manchester United teammate Wayne Rooney was sent off in a game between Portugal and England at the 2006 World Cup.
“People are talking about this and I wanted to see it and take a photo of it,” said Artem Maltsev, a 23-year-old Kazan resident standing outside the Portugal hotel. “Maybe they will let us see it after the tournament ends and the team leaves, I don’t know.”
The mural is in a gated private courtyard, and fans and the media have not been allowed inside to view it. Players and hotel guests can see it perfectly because many of the rooms overlook the courtyard.
Police officers outside the hotel did not say why the public was not allowed near the building. A security guard at the courtyard’s entrance said she couldn’t allow anybody in because it was a private area.
The building was painted by a local collective called Supernova after a call from the city of Kazan to create murals in different parts of the municipality to celebrate the start of the Confederations Cup.
Dmitry Kudinov, a member of the collective, said they finished the mural in five days, using about 300 cans of paint.
Handouts of the artwork have been distributed and published by local media, attracting the public’s attention.
Ronaldo, the reigning world player of the year, is the biggest star at the Confederations Cup. He has been attracting headlines after a report by a Portuguese newspaper said he wants to leave Real Madrid because of allegations he defrauded Spanish tax authorities.
Portugal drew 2-2 with Mexico in their Group A opener on Sunday in Kazan.
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