Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed he felt little pressure going into the European Championship final back in July, and joked that he woke up on the morning of the final with three blondes in his bed.
The 31-year-old helped the side to the Euro 2016 final but was forced off the field early in the tie after picking up a knee injury off a Dimitri Payet challenge.
However, the Selecao eventually prevailed and claimed their first piece of silverware thanks to an Eder strike in the 109th minute.
Nevertheless, Ronaldo claims that he is seen as a leader of the national team and their ‘nothing to lose’ mentality lifted the weight of expectations.
“When I woke up on the day of the final I was with three blondes in the bed,” he joked. “No seriously, I woke up aware that it was a special day, that we were going to play the final of the Euros in France against France, but I still slept eight hours.
“Of course I also speak in the Real Madrid dressing room, but with Portugal I had the feeling of doing a specific job, because the players see me more as a leader, someone who helps them and protects them,” he told France Football.
“I did not feel as much pressure as, for example, the one I felt with Real Madrid in the Champions League final (in May 2016, against Atletico Madrid). In Portugal, you know you have nothing to lose.”
In addition, Ronaldo believes Portugal’s positive attitude throughout the European Champions stemmed from the fact that they had no urgency to win their first international crown and says all his teammates did not see the result coming.
“In Real Madrid, you have to win, while in Portugal, who until this summer had not lifted a single title, there is no such urgency,” he continued.
“I could have woken up in the middle of the night because of the anxiety, but it was not like that. When I went down to breakfast I realized immediately that the atmosphere was very positive.”
“In the Real Madrid dressing room, before I went to the Euros, there was a bit of joking and a lot of my colleagues said to me: “Cristiano, you’re going to have a long vacation this summer!”.
And following a largely successful season in which he claimed both European titles, Ronaldo is hopeful that it is enough to see him to a fourth Ballon d’Or.
“My goal is to win it every year, I did not win it the previous year, but I had won the two previous ones. I hope this is my year,” he said.
“This year Real Madrid has been impressive, we were dead in the middle of the season, but we woke up, and with Portugal it was similar to the middle of the European Championship, which proves that football is not a sprint, but a marathon.”
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