A statue of Cristiano Ronaldo was unveiled in the state of Goa in southwest India, causing discord among locals, some of whom accuse local authorities of honoring the star of a country that had colonized the region . Protesters displaying black flags gathered at the site just after the statue was unveiled this week in the town of Calangute.
Portugal did not grant independence to the region until 1961, following an invasion by the Indian army and a two-day war that ended the Lusitanian military dictatorship. Former international footballer Micky Fernandes, originally from the state of Goa, called the choice “offensive” and lamented the fact that it recalls the “vestiges” of the Portuguese yoke. “Ronaldo is the best player in the world, but we should still have a statue of a player from Goa,” he told AFP.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s statue has been installed in Goa, to inspire the youth and take football to next level in the state and country.
— Sevens Football (@sevensftbl) December 29, 2021
Michael Lobo, regional minister and member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), justified this choice by highlighting the desire to push young people to excellence, not only in India but also internationally. “All the boys and all the girls who want to become professional footballers will be inspired by people like Cristiano Ronaldo,” he pleaded. If you pursue your dreams with passion, then you will be able to achieve your goal. This is what we wrote on the plaque (of the statue). “
The remains of the Portuguese reign are very visible in the region, in the local architecture, the large number of churches and the fact that many of the inhabitants have names of Lusitanian origin. Unlike the rest of India, many people in the state prefer football to cricket, and Portugal are very supportive of international competitions like the World Cup. “I am Portugal too, but we cannot erect the statue of a foreigner when we have our own players,” Fernandes also explained.