A Canadian university will give students the chance to study “arguably the best footballer in the world” - by offering a course on athlete Cristiano Ronaldo.
The University of British Columbia Okanagan is enrolling fourth-year sociology students on a course examining the three-time ballon d’Or winner impact on social and cultural trends.
“I’m interested in how Ronaldo has been used to construct several discourses about who he is, what makes him distinct as a footballer, what is his relationship to Portugal, Madeira (his hometown) and his Portuguese identity,” associate professor of sociology Luis LM Aguiar claims.
Professor Aguiar, who teaches at the UBC Okanagan’s Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, said the course - last one term - will not focus on Mr Ronaldo’s celebrity status.
1/8 Pique for Mango
Spanish footballer Gerard Pique has also posed for Mango Man
2/8 Football stars in fashion
Cristiano Ronaldo on the cover of Vogue Spain
3/8 Football stars in fashion
Ronaldo is the fronts his own underwear line CR7 Underwear
Rankin x Ronaldo for CR7 Underwear
4/8 Football stars in fashion
David Beckham models H&M underwear collection
5/8 Football stars in fashion
David Beckham Bodywear for H&M
6/8 Football stars in fashion
David Beckham modeling underwear in a Emporio Armani campaign in 2008
7/8 Football stars in fashion
Lionel Messi for Dolce and Gabbana
Dolce and Gabbana
8/8 Football stars in fashion
Zidane for Mango Man's spring/summer 2015 campaign
Instead, students will use his international persona to examine how social phenomenon, such as the international game of football, can be used to construct identity and nationality.
This is especially pertinent in Mr Ronaldo’s case, Professor Aguiar suggests, because he has constructed “several discourses about who he is, what makes him distinct as a footballer, what is his relationship to Portugal, Madeira (his hometown) and his Portuguese identity,” he told news.ubc.ca.
The 30-year-old footballer, who was born to a cook and gardener in Madeira, Portugal, was listed among Forbes’ wealthiest athletes last year, with an estimated personal earnings of roughly $70 million. He has his own brand of clothing, an app, and a social media presence of 33 million. Mr Ronaldo currently plays for Real Madrid.
The university, which has approximately 8,400 undergraduate and graduate students, is thought of highly in the academic world with UBC ranked 30th in the world, according to US News and World Report 2015 ratings.
It is not the first time a celebrity, or footballer, has been deemed worthy of study.
Rutgers University in New Jersey offered a course at the beginning of last year entitled: "Politicising Beyonce", which Staffordshire University hit the headlines a couple of years ago after it appeared to be offering a course on David Beckham. In fact, as the university pointed out, the course was technically classed as "Football Culture".