Cristiano Ronaldo‘s Euro 2016 final pain turned into elation as Portugal secured an ‘unforgettable’ and historic win against France.
Forced off through injury, the 31-year-old instead cajoled his team-mates as they went onto win their first-ever major tournament thanks to substitute Eder’s long-range, extra-time strike.
Just after lifting the trophy, Ronaldo said:
‘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.
‘I’d like to thank my team-mates, our coach, our wider team in this Euro, the Portuguese people and all the ex-pats who were always with us, cheering for us from the beginning.
‘This is a unique moment for me, for all the Portuguese people and it’s unforgettable.’
‘I’m so happy – very happy,’ Ronaldo said, having celebrated with his left knee heavily strapped.
‘This was something I have wanted for a long time now, ever since 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 injured myself 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.’