Madeira airport renamed after island son Ronaldo


Lisbon (AFP) – The airport of Madeira, the Atlantic Ocean island birthplace of Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo, was renamed in his honour on Wednesday.

“To see this airport bear my name is a very special thing,” said Ronaldo, who skippered Portugal to victory in the European championships last year.

“Everyone knows I am proud of my roots.”

Ronaldo, speaking at a naming ceremony attended by his family, Portugal President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Prime Minister Antonio Costa, and some 5,000 fans, added: “I didn’t ask for this, but I’m not a hypocrite and I acknowledge that it honours me and that makes me happy.”

In his birth town of Funchal, Ronaldo already has a museum and bronze statue in his honour.

The 32-year-old follows in the footsteps of Northern Ireland legend George Best, who also wore the number seven shirt in his time at Manchester United and had Belfast airport named after him.

Portugal played their first match in Madeira since 2001 on Tuesday, going down 3-2 to Sweden.

Ronaldo’s 71st goal for his country in the defeat saw the striker level in third place with German Miroslav Klose in the list of Europea’s all-time top international goalscorers behind Hungarian duo Sandor Kocsis and leader Ferenc Puskas.

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