By Cynthia Drescher. Photos: Getty.
Madeira International Airport, formerly Santa Catarina Airport in the capital of Funchal, was recently "re-christianed" after the nation's favorite son: soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo. The announcement was made by Miguel Albuquerque, president of the Regional Government of Madeira, following a government meeting late last week. Even Google has already updated its search results; typing "Madeira Airport" or "Funchal Airport" into the search engine brings the result of "Cristiano Ronaldo Airport" which, by the way, has a pretty good Google reviews rating (4.1 out of five stars).
Madeira Airport is consistently identified as one of the world’s scariest airports to fly into owing to its position between the ocean and high mountains, which makes for a difficult approach. The runway was also extended in 2000, built as a platform with 180 columns suspending it over the waves and rocky shoreline.
Ronaldo already has a hotel, museum, and statue in his honor on his home island, but the airport renaming is a “gift” following the Portuguese team's win at the 2016 UEFA European Championship earlier in the month. It's a bit like if Cleveland renamed its airport for LeBron James following the Cavaliers' NBA Championship win. In response to the honor, the soccer player tweeted a photo of himself comfortably seated onboard a private jet, captioned with a simple "Thanks Madeira." Ronaldo had been in town at the time to attend the official opening of the Pestana CR7, the first hotel of a venture between the soccer player and the Pestana Group. Future properties are planned for Lisbon, Madrid, and New York.
This story originally appeared on Conde Nast Traveler.
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