A new Cristiano Ronaldo Statue has been unveiled in Goa, India. The Portuguese player is hugely popular in the state. According to reports, it was enacted after a massive appeal from the football fans in Goa. It would have been installed earlier but delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reportedly, the statue costs around 12 lakhs in Indian rupees (16,000 USD) and weighs approximately 410 Kgs. It was a joy for some football fans and resentment for others. Protests erupted against it when it was under construction. According to reports, demonstrators waved black flags around the site to express their anger.
Cristiano Ronaldo Statue to Inspire Youth
India is largely a cricket-loving country, and football is only popular in a handful of states like Goa, Kerala, and West Bengal.
Goan Minister Michael Lobo said that this is the first time Cristiano Ronaldo Statue has been made in India. He said they created it to inspire youth in taking up football as a sport. Adding that, fans will take selfies with the statue, and whenever they look at it, they will be inspired to play.
Goa loves Ronaldo and the Portuguese national team despite its colonial history. Many Goan nationals have lived in Portugal or have families over there. It has been 60 years since Goa was liberated from Portugal.
What About Promoting Local Talent?
Where Cristiano Ronaldo statue was praised by many, some were deeply disturbed by it. They felt that installing such a statue in India was painful during the 60th anniversary of Goa’s independence after India annexed it in 1961.
Right-wing activists condemned the statue of a Portuguese footballer called it sacrilegious. They added that it was an insult to many freedom fighters in Goa.
On the other hand, some local football fans also expressed their disappointment with a statue of a non-Indian football player. The Manchester United player is also adored by many fans and widely regarded as one of the best players ever to play the game. However, some Goa locals said they would have been more thrilled to see the statue of an Indian player like Sunil Chhetri, Bruno Coutinho, Samir Naik, or Yolanda D’Souza.
This is not the first time Ronaldo’s statue has drawn criticism. Back in 2017, when Madeira airport unveiled his bust, football fans mocked it so much that it was eventually replaced.
Unnecessary Spending by Indian Government
The Indian government has long been criticized for spending unnecessarily on sculptures that feed nothing but imperialist ego. In 2018, PM Narendra Modi unveiled a so-called Statue of Unity to represent the unification of post-independence India. The statue was of Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel, who served as the first deputy Prime Minister of India. It is the tallest statue in the world, standing at 597 feet. Reportedly, its cost is nearly 3000 Crore Indian rupees (400 million USD). Many intellectuals in India questioned its reason when they were largely concerned with India’s social and economic issues. Instead of wasting so much money on a useless statue, they could have used it in education, irrigation, repairing and renovation, constructing check-dams, or space programmes.
The construction of this statue also affected 75,000 tribals across 72 villages. Most of them did not even receive timely compensation, and further commitments like jobs and lands were also not fulfilled. While Modi was proudly unveiling the statue, many farmers were threatening to drown themselves, but it was overshadowed by the “greatness” of the lifeless construct.