PICS: Madeira airport renamed after island son Ronaldo

World Leagues

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.

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An image of Cristiano Ronaldo sits next to the Madeira airport sign at the Madeira international airport outside Funcha. Photo: Armando Franca/APReal Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez are projected on a screen. Photo: Armando Franca/APA bust of Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo is seen before the ceremony to rename Funchal airport as Cristiano Ronaldo Airport in FunchalPortugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa unveils a plaque during the ceremony to rename Funchal airport as Cristiano Ronaldo Airport in Funchal

"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.

Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, left, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, 2nd left and Cristiano Ronaldo stand next to a bust of the player. Photo: Armando Franca/AP

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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