WATCH: After Cristiano Ronaldo bust flop, Russian artist spot-on with his portrait in Saransk

Yulia Antipova hopes her three-by-four-metre mural goes viral on social media

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo, midfielder William Carvalho and goalkeeper Anthony Lopes look at teammates playing footvolley prior to a training session at the team's base in Kratovo, outside Moscow, on June 24, 2018, on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Iran and Portugal in Saransk. / AFP / Francisco LEONG

A Russian artist has paid tribute to Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo by painting a mural of the World Cup's joint top goalscorer as the European champions are set to arrive in the city of Saransk ahead of their decisive final group match against Iran on Monday.

Yulia Antipova painted the three-by-four-metre mural with Ronaldo's smiling face surrounded by Portugal's green and red colours.

Unlike a bust of the player which was placed at an airport in Portugal before it was removed after being widely mocked, not least for its grimacing smile, the mural's likeness to him attracted passersby to stop and pose for photos next to the artwork.

"Well, it is a brilliant experience," Antipova said. "He is a very interesting character, extraordinary soccer player, handsome and attractive man and it's a big event for our city so I could not reject such a proposal.

"And I am very glad to see positive emotions of tourists who walk by and watch how I am creating it."


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Antipova said she hoped the team would drive past her mural and for Ronaldo himself to see and appreciate her work.

"I will be extremely glad and happy if he comes here and has a chance to drive by and can see his portrait. And it would be great if he appraises it. I will be very happy."

Antipova also hoped the portrait goes viral on social media.

"This portrait does not exist in every city, does it? So I would like everyone to see it," she said.