River Plate fans shocked by big bulge in giant statue of club legend Marcelo Gallardo

A 26-foot-tall bronze statue of River Plate great Marcelo Gallardo has been unveiled outside the Argentine club's stadium, but a detail about halfway up has caused a stir among fans.

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The statue, revealed outside the Buenos Aires giants' Monumental stadium on Saturday, has led to mockery on social media due to its oversized groin area.

Gallardo, 47, is the most successful manager in River's history. He won 14 trophies in his eight years at the helm since 2014, including three Copa Libertadores triumphs, before leaving in October to take a break from coaching. As a player, he also won six league titles and one Copa Libertadores title with River.

Fans made fun of River for not showing images of the whole statue on the club's social-media accounts, instead opting to avoid the groin area. Others considered the statue a lack of respect toward Gallardo.

Argentine sculptor Mercedes Savall, who created the statue, said the groin area was enlarged deliberately.

"The work is meant to be seen from underneath," she told radio show "De Aca en Mas." "It's more noticeable in a photograph than in person. It was based on the Bull of Wall Street [in New York]. I exaggerated that part and I understood that it has to do with a gesture towards the fans. It's not sexual, it has to do with other things, such as vitality. The real fans understand it."

Regarding how her latest work, which took four years to make, has been received, Savall said: "What can you do? You can't always make everyone happy. ... It's not meant to be in a museum but in a stadium.

"This is football. Fans always ask the players and the manager to 'put a lot of huevos into it' and it was like a subliminal message through the sculpture."

Savall says Gallardo, who was present at the unveiling of the statue, did not object. She said: "Luckily, he didn't ask for explanations about the statue, he let me work in peace."