Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Sports

Ronaldo statue kicks up a fuss in India's Goa

A statue of Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has caused a stir in the southern Indian state of Goa.

Ronaldo statue kicks up a fuss in India's Goa
The newly installed statue of Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo in Calangute - Copyright AFP Bryan R. Smith
The newly installed statue of Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo in Calangute - Copyright AFP Bryan R. Smith

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.

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

They expressed anger that authorities had shunned Indian sports stars and chosen a player from Portugal, which granted Goa independence in 1961.

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.

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.”

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.

Portugal’s centuries-long influence remains visible in local architecture, particularly the many churches. Many people in Goa have Portuguese-origin surnames.

Unlike in most of India, many Goans prefer football to cricket — and many support Portugal in international tournaments such as the World Cup.

“I follow (Portugal) too but when we have our own players we cannot put up a statue of someone from outside,” Fernandes said.

It is not the first time a statue of Ronaldo, 36, has caused an upset.

A grinning bust unveiled at Madeira airport in Portugal in 2017 was widely ridiculed as looking little like its subject.

AFP
Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

You may also like:

Tech & Science

Cryptocurrencies have crashed recently and dragged down the in-game tokens that had initially attracted players.

Business

Future businesses and commercial property economies cannot run on the old models anymore. Time to start looking at better options.

World

British cartoonist R. Briggs, whose creation "The Snowman" became a Christmas staple for generations of kids, has died aged 88.

Entertainment

One of India's biggest stars is banking on a remake of Hollywood feelgood hit "Forrest Gump" to revive the fortunes of Bollywood.