Cristiano Ronaldo statue in Goa sparks debate
- Ronaldo’s statue has been inaugurated at Agarwaddo, Calangute, Goa
- Goa is a former Portuguese colony. It is 60 years since the state was liberated from Portugal
- Many Goans said it would have been ideal to have a statue of local footballer
A statue of Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo has been inaugurated in Goa by Ports Minister and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo at a Zilla panchayat project taken up by Calangute ZP member Dattaprasad Dabholkar.
"Ronaldo is a global legend. He is an inspiration to all young and aspiring Goan footballers. They all want to become like Ronaldo. Football is Goa's state sport. We want our footballers to become legends like Ronaldo. This statue will inspire them,” Lobo said while launching the beautification of open space, landscaping, garden with fountain and walkway at Agarwaddo, Calangute.
Goa is also a former Portuguese colony, and it is 60 years since the state was liberated from Portugal. Ronaldo, being a Portuguese international, is hugely popular in Goa. Officials hope it will inspire young people to take up football. Portugal's football team is also popular in Goa, and due to its colonial past, many locals have lived in Portugal or have family there.
But some locals held a protest with black flags on the sidelines of the launch. Calangute Constituency Forum president Premanand Divkar, who was part of the protest, said a statue of a great Goan footballer from Calangute would have been more appropriate at the spot and said they were opposed to a statue of a foreign player.
"Very disappointed to hear of the statue of Ronaldo being erected. Learn to take pride in our own icons like Samir Naik and Bruno Coutinho," a local Goan was quoted as saying by the IANS news agency.
Others said 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.
"To erect a statue of a Portuguese footballer this year is sacrilegious. We condemn this," IANS quoted right-wing activist Guru Shirodkar as saying.
"There are many freedom fighters in Goa who have been insulted," he added.