Controversy has erupted in the Indian state of Goa over the installation of a statue of Portugal’s famous footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.
According to the French news agency AFP, local residents have called the honoring of the star player of the former colonial power, who ruled the area by the authorities, insensitive.
Protesters carrying black flags gathered at the site of a Ronaldo statue unveiled this week in the town of Collingot to protest.
Demonstrators expressed outrage that the authorities, ignoring the Indian sports stars, chose a player from the country from which Goa gained independence in 1961.
Former Indian cricketer Mickey Fernandes, who hails from Goa, has described it as “painful”, saying “Ronaldo is the best footballer in the world but there should be a statue of a Goan footballer.”
Michael Lobo, local minister of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, told AFP that the purpose of erecting the statue of Ronaldo was to encourage young people to make a name for themselves not only nationally but also internationally.
He says all the boys and girls who want to make football their career will be encouraged to go beyond players like Cristiano Ronaldo.
“If you want to pursue your dream and are passionate about it, you can reach your destination and that is what we have written on the board.
It should be noted that most of India gained independence in 1947, but the Portuguese military dictatorship gave independence to Goa in 1961 after the intervention of the Indian Army and the two-day war.
The centuries-old influence of Portugal can be seen in the local architecture, especially in the churches.
Unlike other parts of India, Goa residents prefer football to cricket, and support Portugal in international tournaments such as the World Cup.