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Rediff.com  » Sports » Euro 2016: One of the happiest moments of my career, says Ronaldo

Euro 2016: One of the happiest moments of my career, says Ronaldo

July 11, 2016 12:58 IST
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Before extra time, Ronaldo told me I would score the winning goal: Eder

I told my teammates that we had to win it for Ronaldo: Pepe

IMAGE: Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo gives instructions as head coach Fernando Santos looks on. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters.

Cristiano Ronaldo wept tears of despair then tears of joy as Portugal stunned host France to lift the 2016 Euro Title in Paris. The Portuguese talisman has won everything at club level with Manchester United and Real Madrid.

But Ronaldo has now become a true great after leading his country to European glory- Portugal's first major football title.

Ronaldo tried to fight through pain due to a knee injury that he had suffered during the match but the knee pain took it's toll on him as Portugal lost their captain, who had to be carried off on a stretcher. 

"I'm so happy. This is something I have wanted for a long time now, ever since 2004. The Portuguese people deserve this, our players deserve this. Unfortunately, things didn't go well for me but I've always believed in these players. They have quality and ability," Ronaldo said after the epic triumph. 

A young Ronaldo was part of the Portugal team, which lost to Greece in the 2004 Euro final. But this time a not-so-favoured Portugal players rallied as a team to claim their biggest title in football. 

IMAGE: Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo lifts trophy after winning Euro 2016 at Stade de France in Paris on Sunday. Photograph: John Sibley/Livepic/Reuters.

"This is one of the happiest moments of my career. I've always said I wanted to win a trophy with the national team and make history. I'd like to thank my team-mates, our coach, our wider team at this Euro, and the Portuguese people cheering us on. This is a unique moment for me. It's unforgettable," Ronaldo said.

During the Sunday's final against France, Ronaldo had donned the assistant manager's role after being substituted due to injury and Portugal's goalscorer Eder acknowledged his captain's contribution to motivate the team. 

"I think we deserve this title due to the work all the players and staff put in. Portugal have been wanting this title for so long, so it's fantastic. [Before extra time, Cristiano Ronaldo] told me I would score the winning goal. He gave me strength and positive energy," Eder said. 

Defender Pepe was adjudged as the man of the match in the final and Ronaldo's Real Madrid teammate said that the entire Portugal team wanted to win it for their captain. 

"This was tough as we lost our main man and we had all our hopes on him because he can score a goal at any moment. When he couldn't go on, I tried to tell our team-mates that we had to win it for him. The coach set us up very well and the subs came on at the right time too.

"We poured blood, sweat and tears into this. We've written a brilliant page in the book of Portuguese football history," Pepe said. 

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