This content is not available in your region

Newly unveiled Cristiano Ronaldo statue receives backlash from locals in India

euronews_icons_loading
Cristiano Ronaldo has been honoured in India with a controversial in the Indian state of Goa
Cristiano Ronaldo has been honoured in India with a controversial in the Indian state of Goa   -   Copyright  AFP
By Theo Farrant  & AFP

A statue of Portuguese footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo has caused a stir in the southern Indian state of Goa, with locals accusing officials of insensitivity for honouring a sports star from the region's former colonial power.

Most of present-day India gained independence in 1947, but Portugal's then military dictatorship only relinquished Goa following an invasion by the Indian army and a two-day war in 1961.

A mixed response to the statue

Protesters with black flags gathered at the site after the statue was unveiled this week in the town of Calangute.

Locals also expressed anger that authorities had shunned Indian sports stars and chosen a player from Portugal.

Micky Fernandes, a former Indian international player who is from Goa, said the choice was "hurtful" and a "hangover" from Portuguese rule.

"Ronaldo is the best player in the world but still we should have a statue of a football player from Goa," Fernandes told AFP.

However, Michael Lobo, a local minister with India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, told AFP the aim was to inspire young people to excel not just inside the country but internationally.

"All the boys and girls who want to make football a career will get inspired by people like Cristiano Ronaldo," Lobo said.

"If you pursue your dream and you're passionate about it then you can reach a higher goal. This is what we have written on the plaque," he added.

It is not the first time a statue of Ronaldo has had a less than enthusiastic reception.

A bronze Ronaldo bust was unveiled in his native country on March 29th to mark the renaming of Madeira’s main airport in his honour. At the time the statue was criticised for not looking anything like the then-Real Madrid star.

Check out the video to see the newly unveiled statue of Cristiano Ronaldo