Portugal's first ever winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, Salvador Sobral, was welcomed home as a hero on Sunday. Thousands gathered in Lisbon's Humberto Delgado Airport to greet the victorious team.
Salvador Sobral's victory last Saturday in Kyiv is not just another Eurovision Song Contest winner. Portugal debuted in the contest in 1964 and in more than 50 years the country had never reached the Top 5, achieving their best placing in 1996 when Lúcia Moniz ranked 6th with O Meu Coração Não Tem Cor. With their 49th entry, Amar Pelos Dois, the country achieved what had never been done before, not only finishing in the Top 5 for the first time ever and winning the competition by a landslide, setting a new record for points along the way.
It must have felt weird for Salvador when he was welcomed home like this in Lisbon last Sunday as, when asked in the press conference after his victory if he would become a national hero in Portugal, he replied: "Me the national hero of my country? I want to live a peaceful life, maybe there will be some fuss at the beginning, but if I thought of myself as a hero of Portugal it would be a bit weird."
The winning songwriter, Luisa Sobral, who is none other than Salvador's sister, was very touched upon their arrival in Portugal: "I couldn't control myself and cried like a baby when I saw this sea of people. It is so good to see that art also moves people this way."
She followed with a message of gratitude: "Thank you very much to all who came to greet us, to all those who cheered for us, to our fellow musicians who sent us beautiful messages, and to the Portuguese broadcaster, RTP, for always having defended our song tooth and nail."
Luísa has a baby son and proudly claims that one day she can tell him: "Do you know that your mum and your uncle won the Eurovision Song Contest?"