Reports: Cristiano Ronaldo set to visit India next year
Real Madrid star and three-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo is set to visit India next year. The Portuguese forward is reportedly set to land in the city of Kolkata in June 2017 along with his Euro-winning Portugal national team according to reports from Xtratime.
The ‘City of Joy’ had played host to Ronaldo’s arch-rival Lionel Messi and his Argentine team when they played against Venezuela in an international in 2011. Kolkata has been graced by the presence of legendary football figures in the recent past. Diego Maradona arrived at the Eastern Indian city in 2008 when he was a brought in as a guest by a construction giant.
Meanwhile, Pele dazzled Kolkata with his presence last year. In fact, back in 1977, the Brazilian along with his Los Angeles Cosmos had played a friendly against Mohun Bagan at the Eden Gardens. The “City of Joy”, in fact, also played host to Oliver Kahn and Bayern Munich as he took his bow in a testimonial against Mohun Bagan in 2008.
Other legends such as Ruud Gullit and Dwight Yorke have also been visitors to the city whilst the Indian Super League has helped bring other legends such as Roberto Carlos, Zico, Marco Materazzi and Gianluca Zambrotta to the Mecca of Indian Football.
Kolkata is home to the biggest derbies in the world with crowds going up to 100,000 for the games.
If the Messi visit was anything to go by, the football-crazy town of Kolkata is set to go gaga over Ronaldo. While it is still unclear whether they will be playing a game in the city, they are said to be ready to visit the ISKCON temple in the city.
Ronaldo has several million followers all over the world and having played with two of the most popular clubs in World Football, he is surely to be welcomed to much fanfare. Real Madrid have one of the biggest fan bases in the world and a good fraction of those die hard fans are in India as well.
With Thierry Henry also visiting this year, India’s football fanatism seems to be growing and the world’s most popular football figures have recognized how passionate India is towards improving the sport as well.
Henry is currently in Kolkata attending the game between ATK and Mumbai City FC. He is set to visit the financial capital later in the week.