Cristiano Ronaldo statue divides opinion in India


A newly unveiled statue of Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo is dividing opinion in India.

Critics say local football legends should be honoured in India's Goa state© @MichaelLobo76 Critics say local football legends should be honoured in India’s Goa state

Placed in the western Goa state, where football is hugely popular, officials hope it will inspire young people.

However not everyone is happy with the towering brass statue that now graces a park in a coastal village.

Critics say local football players should have been honoured, especially since several past and present members of India’s national team are Goan.

Portugal is a popular team in Goa, which is a former European colony, and many locals have lived in Portugal or have family there.

But some people in the Indian state think it is insulting to install the statue during the 60th anniversary celebrations of Goa finally gaining independence from Portugal, which happened 14 years after the rest of India was liberated from British rule.

Michael Lobo, a local lawmaker in the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), tweeted a photo of himself with the statue, saying that it had been installed “at the request of our youth” to inspire them “to take football to greater heights”.

Although cricket remains India’s most popular sport, football – especially the English Premier League – is a favourite in certain pockets of the country – Kerala in the south, Goa in the west, West Bengal in the east and all of the eight north-eastern states.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who currently plays for Manchester United, is adored by many fans and widely regarded as one of the best players in the history of the game.

The 36-year-old forward has not commented publicly on the statue.

This is not the first time a statue of him has raised eyebrows – in 2017 a bust of Ronaldo was widely mocked and eventually replaced in Madeira airport in Portugal.

Cristiano Ronaldo statue divides opinion in India (

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