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Portuguese International Airport named after Christian Ronaldo

Real Madrid and Portugal star footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo now has an international airport named after him in his native town, Madeira island in Portugal. The official ceremony was graced with dozens of guests including the president and prime minister of Portugal, as well as hundreds of happy fans where the airport in Madeira was renamed as Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo. An amusing bust of the star was also unveiled… Though it doesn’t portray the Portuguese star’s actual look.

A commemorative plaque was unveiled outside the terminal entrance, above a bust of Ronaldo.

This becomes the fourth major landmark in his homeland named after 32-year-old Ronaldo who is a local hero in Madeira, adding to the museum, statue and hotel named after him. His story is seen as a rags-to-riches succes.

In his speech, he said “You know how proud I am of my roots, my homeland,”

The four-time player of the year has made a record 138 national team appearances for Portugal and is the team’s top scorer with 71 goals.

The change was decided by the Madeira regional government after Portugal won the 2016 European Championship. Critics said a more distinguished historical figure would be more appropriate. Petitions were started for and against the change.

Ronaldo acknowledged that it was rare for a public figure to be honoured while still alive, saying he was aware that some people didn’t agree with the name change. However, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said the tribute was legitimate because it was decided by an elected government.

The president, Rebelo de Sousa in his speech described Rinaldo as “an example of excellence” and “projects Madeira and Portugal across the world far more than anybody else.”

Ronaldo Statue in Madeira

Ronaldo is not the first football player with his name on an airport. In Northern Ireland, an airport was renamed George Best Belfast City Airport in 2006, a year after the local player and former Manchester United winger died.

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