The bust, created by sculptor Emanuel Santos, was greeted by howls of derision in March last year and prompted unflattering comparisons with the likes of Niall Quinn and Art Attack's The Head.
But now the bronze statue has been replaced with a new, improved version at the behest of Ronaldo's family.
The switch happened on Friday - the same day that Ronaldo scored a hat-trick for Portugal against Spain in their World Cup Group B opener.
Original creator Santos was not informed that his famed work had been removed, but Ronaldo's brother Hugo Aveiro simply shrugged: "If he was taken by surprise, it's not my problem."
The second attempt undoubtedly looks better, but a petition has been made to get the old one – a tourist attraction in its own right – back.
Titled 'Petition for the immediate return of Cristiano Ronaldo's bust to Madeira airport' on peticaopublica.com, its creator says the original bust was "an attraction for our island". As FFT discovered ourselves, they are very much correct.
Airport director Duarte Ferreira told Madeira Island News: "The (Ronaldo) museum asked us to replace and put this bust in honour of the athlete, and we thought we should change. But in any case, we have the old one saved."
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