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Cristiano Ronaldo's 2016 tour de force

Cristiano Ronaldo was injured at the start of the final, but proved to be as inspiring from behind the touchline as he had been on the pitch as Portugal ground out another victory.
Cristiano Ronaldo's 2016 tour de force
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates Portugal's UEFA EURO 2016 winner from the bench ©AFP/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo's 2016 tour de force

Cristiano Ronaldo was injured at the start of the final, but proved to be as inspiring from behind the touchline as he had been on the pitch as Portugal ground out another victory.

Withdrawn with an injury in the first half of the final, Cristiano Ronaldo's chance of winning a first UEFA European Championship looked to be fading fast, but in a tournament where he became Portugal's most-capped player – and matched Michel Platini's record of nine EURO finals goals he proved to be an inspiration even after he had left the field. The striker and coach Fernando Santos kicked every ball with their team, and while Éder struck the extra-time winner against France, Portugal's success still owed everything to the Real Madrid man.

On the moment of victory...
We beat France and I'm delighted. This is one of the happiest moments in my career. I've always said I wanted to win a trophy with the national team and make history, and I did it. Thank God, things went well for us.

This was something I've wanted for a long time now, ever since [EURO] 2004. I asked God to give me another chance. The Portuguese people deserve this; our players deserved this. Unfortunately, things didn't go well for me. I got injured in the first few minutes. But I've always believed in these players. They have quality and ability, along with our coach's strategy to win.

On losing in the 2004 final against Greece...
That was a difficult moment. We knew we had a unique opportunity to become European champions, but that's a part of football. Football has taught me a lot of things: nothing is certain. What is true today can be a lie tomorrow; a team can be very good one day and awful the next. So it's all part of that. If it happened, it's because God willed it and we have to think about the future.

On breaking Luis Figo's Portugal caps record in France...
It is something to be proud of. It was a goal to be the most-capped international player and to be the national team's top scorer.

On going all the way despite some wobbly performances...
We believed right from the start. We had difficult moments, but it's like I always say: it's better to start poorly and have a positive ending.

With a lot of work, humility and the spirit of self-sacrifice, which I have always shown in my career, these sorts of things are doable.

Last updated: 26/05/17 9.23CET

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