Cristiano Ronaldo's Statue Unveiled In India

 Cristiano Ronaldo has been honoured in India with a controversial huge sculpture as the state of Goa looks to inspire the next generation of footballers.

A statue of the Portugal and Manchester United superstar has been unveiled in the former Portuguese colony.

The tribute in Calangute was said to have cost around £12,000 and weighs a whopping 65 stone, according to The Times of India.

Goa minister Michael Lobo posted two photos of the statue onto his Twitter account and wrote: 'For the love of football and at the request of our youth we put up Cristiano Ronaldo's statue in the park to inspire our youngsters to take football to greater heights.

'It was an honour to inaugurate the beautification of open space, landscaping, garden with foundation and walkway.'

He told ANI: 'This is for the first time that the statue of Cristiano Ronaldo has come up in India. This is nothing but to inspire our youth.

'If you want to take football to another level then this is what young boys and girls will look forward to, taking selfies and looking at the statue and getting inspired to play.'

However the statue has split opinion with some reportedly waving black flags in protest at the installation.

Meanwhile critics have suggested footballers from their own country should have been honoured instead.

'There are so many great footballers from Calangute like Bruno Coutinho and Yolanda D’Souza, who have brought laurels to India by playing football at international level. Why couldn’t their statues be installed? They are from Calangute. Why the Portuguese footballer’s statue has been installed,' Calangute constituency forum president Premanand Divkar told The Navhind Times.

The western Indian state of Goa was a colony of Portugal but was annexed by India 60 years ago.

A bust of Ronaldo in the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's place of birth attracted worldwide attention a few years ago.

Madeiran artist Emanuel Santos was tasked with creating the image of Ronaldo and spent three weeks on the project, with the bust unveiled when Madeira airport, Portugal, was renamed in Ronaldo's honour in March 2017.

However the work was heavily mocked and the sculpture was replaced with a different version.

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