Portugal head coach Fernando Santos has hailed his captain Cristiano Ronaldo as he feels he was an incredible example for his teammates during their Euro 2016 triumph over France.
Ronaldo was injured in the first half of the final at the Stade de France after a collision with Dimitri Payet saw his knee buckle, which resulted in him reduced to tears as he was stretchered from the field.
The legendary forward was then seen on the sidelines bandaged up heavily on his left knee, but while he was limping around Portugal’s technical area, he was cheering on his teammates and barking instructions at them.
Santos, who has only been in charge of the Portuguese national team for 14 competitive matches, has hailed Ronaldo’s exceptional leadership during the final, from refusing to feel the pain in his knee to cheering them on from the sidelines.
“First of all I’d like to thank God for being with us, my wife, my mother, my grandson. My father wherever he is, he’s probably having a few beers,” Santos said post-match, via BBC Sport.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is an amazing example. Today he tried to remain on the pitch. He was very strong in the locker room, he helped all of the boys, that’s the definition of teamwork.
“We have a bright future but right now we need to celebrate.”
Portugal full-back Cedric Soares also hailed Ronaldo for his half-time teamtalk in the dressing room which inspired the side to go on and win their first piece of major silverware.
The three-time Ballon d’Or winner has won everything at club level that he possibly can, but one thing missing from his locker was a triumph with the Portuguese national team, though his tears post-match were the realisation of his dreams coming true.
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