He is idolized as one of the greatest footballers on the planet, with his number seven jersey prized by millions of young people dreaming of becoming a superstar. But Cristiano Ronaldo’s astonishing success has not been matched by those looking to immortalize his image.
A statue of Ronaldo in action unveiled this week in Goa has sparked protests from some locals who say Indian players should be honored before that of the country that was the colonial ruler of Goa until 60 years ago.
The 400kg statue of the Manchester United and Portugal striker was meant to honor ‘the love of football’ and ‘inspire our young people to take football to the next level’. tweeted a local politician, Michael Lobo.
But some people waved black flags during the unveiling of the statue. “Very disappointed to learn that the statue of Ronaldo has been erected. Learn to be proud of our own icons like Samir Naik and Bruno Coutinho,” a protester told the IANS news agency.
The Portugal team is popular in Goa, where many people have ties to the European country due to its colonial history. But some have argued that the statue, unveiled days after the 60th anniversary of the day Goa was liberated from Portuguese rule, was callous and inappropriate.
Lobo later said: “When people talk about football, they talk about Cristiano Ronaldo. So we put this statue up here so that boys and girls at a very, very young age get inspired, feel inspired and l love and passion for the game is growing. He accused the protesters of hating football.
This is not the first time that a statue of Ronaldo has received a less than enthusiastic reception. In March 2017, a bronze bust of the player unveiled to mark the renaming of Madeira’s main airport in his honor was ridiculed by fans who said he looked little like their hero. Sculptor Emanuel Santos said his work was only “a matter of taste”. But the following year he was replaced with a new bust, apparently following a request from Ronaldo’s family.
In 2014, a 10-foot bronze statue of the player outside his museum in Funchal, Madeira raised eyebrows for its accentuation of his physique. Ronaldo said the image made him “so proud”.
Ronaldo, who grew up in poverty with an alcoholic father, became the first footballer to earn $ 1 billion in his career.
Statues of other public figures have been criticized for not capturing the person’s likeness. This year, a bronze of Diana, Princess of Wales with three children, had a “Theresa May clue”, according to some social media commentators.
And in March, Cork County Council demanded repayment of a € 33,000 grant after a statue of Hollywood actor Maureen O’Hara was deemed ‘unacceptable’ and ‘unsuitable for installation. “.