Portugal were considered to be the underdogs of the tournament from the very beginning and after all their day had come in the final of European Championship 2016 as Portugal beat host nation France.
It was a difficult run for Fernando Santos’, escaping the group stage and qualifying to the quarter-final despite finishing third in their own group! Not only that, Portugal hadn’t won a single match in 90 minutes until they played Wales in the semi-final. Now some might say they rode their luck while the others will quote “Fortune favours the brave!” – leading into an unnecessary discussion, which shall be avoided.
Inside a buzzing Stade de France, within 20 minutes of play in the first half Portuguese main man Cristiano Ronaldo got injured and suddenly there was an internal fight going on inside him – Pain vs playing for the Nation, and eventually the pain won as Cristiano requested to be subbed off!
But who would have thought that a Portuguese who moved to Swansea City for just £5million last summer will drive a thunderous strike past Lloris out of nowhere? A player with 13 goalless games in the Premier League, ended the wait, won the trophy and the fans’ hearts!
Second half of extra time was on and Santos took a gamble – the Lille striker was brought in by sacrificing the 80m euros Bayern Munich man Renato Sanches. 109’ and Eder cut into his right, with French defender Samuel Umtiti allowing him space and drove a thunderous strike from a fair distance past Lloris with no one to block the shot.
Portugal still remembered the final against Greece in 2004 and it all flashed back in front of them seeing the Real Madrid talisman crying in pain, wet eyes and shattered dreams, they felt it and they cried with their hero. It was all up to the team after 24 minutes, when Cristiano got subbed off for Quaresma.
But the Real Madrid superstar proved he can make the difference, even when not playing. After the 90 minutes of regulations time were up, Ronaldo gave a team talk and shouted instructions from the touchline while the extra time was on.
He cheered up everyone – the players, the bench, the coach, the fans and even the haters and critics! A wonderful surprise it was for the fans.
We are people and we have different opinions, so does each and every football fan. CR7 – Some love him, some hate him, some respect him and the others despise him, but by his displays last night he has proved what inspiration and leadership is.
Previously, a video went viral on the internet where Ronaldo was seen motivating Moutinho on taking the penalty against Croatia, and the Portuguese did it again despite coming off in the 25th minute, bearing with the pain at the buzzing Stade de France.
Things he did in the final 30 minutes were priceless – full of dedication, emotion and passion.
When you see him, you can see what it is like to want something with all your heart – a personality that never gives up, not even when he is in severe pain. That’s what a sportsman should be doing, leading his team. Yes, Portugal won because of Ronaldo’s absence, because you don’t always need to play with the squad to win, you need to lead in order to win, and Cristiano did it with perfection – A TRUE LEADER!