LIMA – Peru national soccer team captain Paolo Guerrero and coach Ricardo Gareca, who helped the South American team qualify for the World Cup after a 36-year absence, had a pair of statues unveiled in their honor in Lima.
The gold-colored, life-sized statues of the two men were commissioned by the district of San Miguel, whose mayor, Eduardo Bless, inaugurated them on Friday at the Argentina Park amid a debate about the cost and merit of the pieces.
Their cost, some 20,000 soles ($6,000), raised suspicions about the use of public funds and spurred an amusing discussion on social media, as some people have said that the figure of Gareca looks more like John Lennon or Iggy Pop, while others said that the Guerrero statue resembles reputed drug kingpin Gerald Oropeza.
“The district of San Miguel is inviting the whole world to make fun of us. Not to mention that we were eliminated in the first round,” Peruvian writer Diego Trelles said, referring to Peru’s failure to advance beyond the group stage of the 2018 World Cup.
“These statues are unnecessary. The money that was wasted on this could have been used on the fire department,” San Miguel resident Julia Alegre told EFE.
Bless’ administration said that part of the cost of the statues was covered by private donations.
Some neighbors were pleased with the new statues, including Antonio Vasquez, 75, who said that “the park finally looks renovated, with a play area and a mini gym.”
According to Vasquez, the statues of Guerrero and Gareca are well deserved.
“This is a homage from Peru to those who helped take our country to the World Cup after 36 years,” he said.