Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has had the Madeira airport renamed after him by the regional government officials.
Cristiano Ronaldo was joined by Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the prime minister, and other guests and fans at the renaming ceremony where a bronze bust was unveiled as a tribute to the player outside the terminal entrance.
Rebelo de Sousa called Ronaldo an ”example of excellence”. He said the Portugal captain “projects Madeira and Portugal across the world far more than anybody else” making him very deserving of the honor.
The Madeira airport will now be known as Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 32-year-old wrote on twitter saying: “Happy and honored to have my name given to the Madeira airport!”
The former Manchester United player’s bust at the airport’s terminal entrance features what is thought to be his trademark grin, which brought an online storm of ridicule.
— Footie Live (@_FootieLive) March 29, 2017
Madeira airport unveils bust rumoured to be of footballer Cristiano Ronaldo… pic.twitter.com/m4XUk8do7W
— Josh G (@jgcartman) March 29, 2017
The grin also bears a little resemblance to another former Manchester United player, Niall Quinn.
The world’s best footballer, who has a record 138 national team appearances, seemed to laugh off any embarrassment over the bust with guests at the ceremony.
The awkward appearance of a man professionally dressed up as batman also helped get people’s attention off the bizarre-looking bust.
Ronaldo is very much loved in Madeira where he already has a museum, a hotel, and a statue constructed of him. He is a local hero who is seen as a rags-to-riches success.
He has happily put his name on everything from underwears to ab sculpting machines putting the airport on a long list of Ronaldo’s business ventures.
Madeira’s favorite son is, however, not the first footballer to have an airport named after him. In 2006, Belfast airport was named after former Manchester United player George Best.