Coinciding with the start of the World Cup, the back page of a City A.M. newspaper edition depicted the statue graphically altered to show the figure holding a bottle in one hand with the other arm around a bikini-clad model over the caption: ‘There’s a more exciting side to Brazil’.

The EA said that it was religiously and racially offensive and called on City A.M. to apologise for publishing it.

EA advocacy director Dr Dave Landrum said: ‘This advertisement is an offensive abuse of an image of Christ that is known and loved around the world.  

‘If the games were being held in a Muslim majority country would City A.M. run an advertisement defacing Islamic religious symbols?’

The iconic statue lends itself to sometimes controversial parody. The Roman Catholic Church complained about an image showing it wearing a Brazil football shirt.