The statue was not created just as an image, it was created as an object for meditation. It does not represent the real Buddha; he was not like that. It is a metaphor. Rather than representing the Buddha's physical shape, it represents his inner grace.
Every man has to become enlightened in his own way. Although we love Gautam Buddha, he is saying, "There is no need to follow his footprints, because no buddha leaves footprints. A buddha is just like a bird, flying into the blue sky, leaving no footprints."
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