Hundreds of deliriously happy, proud countrymen and women turned out in brilliant technicolour at Lisbon airport yesterday to welcome ‘the returning hero’ from Eurovision in Kiev – a slightly bemused Salvador Sobral.
But as Sobral wondered out loud how he was going to “deal with all this”, there was another uncomfortable question in the air.
His exceptional win on Saturday night means that Portugal will be hosting the next Eurovision song contest – and this translates into an outlay of as much as €50 million.
With national tabloid Correio da Manhã saying: “No one knows who will pay”, Sobral himself has clearly given the issue some thought.
He told reporters yesterday: “I know that a lot of money will be needed to organise the festival here next year, and I am sorry for that. But I think there will be rewards, for culture and tourism”.
CM suggests State television network RTP will be in charge of organising the event, and that the venue will almost certainly be Lisbon’s MEO arena.
But where the money will come from will have to wait clarification.
“RTP will be meeting with representatives of the European Union of Radiodifusion in the next few weeks”, says the paper. Only afterwards, will we know “more about the costs” and who will be meeting them.
As for Sobral – whom Sky News reports is “waiting for a heart transplant” – he told Sunday afternoon’s crowds that he was “very tired”, and actually quite sad to have his “space invaded” by so many people holding up mobile phones to snap celebratory photographs.
The blue-blood Portuguese (his family is descended from the 4th Count of Sobral, says CM) is looking forwards to getting on with his singing career, and says he hopes to start work on a new disc in December.
Until then it’ll be a question of getting used to his newfound fame and no doubt doing multiple interviews and almost as many performances of Portugal’s first winning song in over five decades, Amar Pelos Dois – composed by Sobral’s talented singer-songwriter sister Luísa.