A lot of hot air: Australian bookmakers float giant Christ the Redeemer balloon

Australia’s Socceroos have a tough road ahead of them in the group stage of the World Cup. In a power-house group with Holland, Chile and Spain, they’ll be lucky to make it to the second round.

But that’s not stopping Australian bookmakers Sportsbet.com.au from keeping hopes high, really high.

As in floating hot-air balloon high.


(Image: Sportsbet.com.au)

The company launched a 151-foot tall replica of Rio’s famed Christ the Redeemer statue, clothed in an Aussie-themed jersey, across the skies of Melbourne.

Unfortunately, not everyone is happy about having this particular balloon cruising the skies. 


(Image: AP Photo/sportsbet.com.au, Dave Callow)

In an interview with ABC News, Reverend Tim Costello, the chair of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, said he was not amused.

"One of the great statues in Rio is Jesus, and Brazil is a Catholic nation that takes its faith seriously and its football fanatically. You don’t exploit those things that are sacred to people simply for your own advertising reach and I think that soccer as a world game should be sensitive to that and certainly express their disdain for these types of advertisements," said Costello.

Despite the complaints, Sportsbet.com.au has included some fun facts about the balloon on their website. The balloon took 5 months to make and could fit 574,525 soccer balls inside. And that’s pretty righteous.

(h/t Dirty Tackle)


The Zinedane Zidane statue has a strange new home


The unforgettable and absolutely massive statue that immortalizes Zidane’s infamous headbutt to Marco Materazzi has a new home: Qatar.

According to Doha News, the statue was bought by the Qatar Museums Authority for an undisclosed sum and will be a permanently installed on the Corniche near Al Mourjan restaurant.

Jean Paul Engelen, QMA’s director of Public Art, told Doha News that he expects the sculpture to be popular in Qatar:

"Yes, we expect a lot of people to want to take photos with it, and of it.

It’s an impressive piece. It’s a huge sculpture, and it’s done in the same style as Greek Mythological statues, but this glorifies human defects instead. It shows that although we sometimes treat footballers like gods, they’re not - they’re just human beings.”

The statue itself was always a bit of an odd tribute to a moment we’re sure Zidane himself would rather forget. If the it remains in Qatar through 2022, we wonder if the legend himself will come face to face with his history.

Khan you dig it? Al Fayed pays lip service, says Michael Jackson statue will stay


Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan has been singing the praises of Mohamed Al Fayed over his successful negotiations to buy Fulham FC. Al Fayed wore a fake moustache when posing with the club’s new owner and a shirt with “Khan” printed on the back.

But AL Fayed didn’t stop there.

When asked about Michael Jackson’s statue outside Craven Cottage, the Egyptian businessman reminded Khan that he would be “in big trouble” should the heavily-moustached owner decide to remove Jackson’s memorial:

"Michael Jackson will stay. He can’t go, he is here. It is part of the deal, it is history, it is listed. You can’t change otherwise I will come and take your moustache in public. He knows that."

The “King of Pop” only visited the ground once in 1999 has divided opinions and Khan promised to get fans’ views rather than make a “knee-jerk reaction.”

"I’ve been an owner less than a day. We have to preserve and respect history – but we have to move forward. I’ll reflect on it and listen to the fans. Then I’ll decide."

Only time will tell.


Dennis Bergkamp to be immortalized with Arsenal statue


Dennis Bergkamp is set to become the fourth Arsenal legend to receive his own statue outside Emirates Stadium. Originally a rumor, the word seems to be out now after pictures on twitter surfaced of the sculpture.

As you can see, the statue is based on the classic image of him controlling the ball in the air against Newcastle in 2003.


Bergkamp’s statue is rumored to be unveiled outside Emirates Stadium before the start of the 2013-14 Premier League season, joining the statues of other all-time Gunners Thierry Henry, Tony Adams and Herbert Chapman.

Bergkamp scored 120 goals in 423 games for the Gunners, winning three Premier League titles and four FA Cups.



The day before Manchester United's clash with QPR, the Red Devils brass unveiled a long overdue statue of Sir Alex Ferguson outside Old Trafford. Congratulations on 26 years of excellent service, Sir Alex!