A statue of one of football's greatest superstars Cristiano Ronaldo was unveiled in Panaji, Goa earlier this week. The statue which was installed to inspire locals to take up football has now sparked controversy with residents objecting that instead of an Indian footballer, a Portuguese is being honoured.
Michael Lobo, a minister in the Goa state government, on Wednesday tweeted that the statue is aimed at promoting football as a sport and to inspire young people to play the game. "When people talk about football, they talk about Cristiano Ronaldo. So we have installed this statue here so boys and girls at a very, very young age to get inspiration, they feel inspired and the love and passion for this game will grow," he later said.
Many have not taken the installation of the statue in good spirit owing to the fact that the footballer belongs to the particular country that occupied Goa as a colony for centuries, only leaving 60 years ago. Lobo told IANS the protesters "simply hated" football.
Cricket still remains the most popular sport in India, whereas football enjoys more popularity in some areas such as Goa, Kerala, and West Bengal.