Cristiano Ronaldo may have had to watch from the sidelines, but that hasn’t stopped an outpouring of emotion from the Real Madrid man.
The 31-year-old Portuguese captain was carried off on a stretcher midway through the first half of the Euro 2016 final against hosts France after suffering an early injury.
He departed the field in tears, but returned to the touchline to cheer his side to a 1-0 victory secured by substitute Eder’s 109th-minute strike.
“We beat France and I’m delighted,” Ronaldo said, fresh from lifting the trophy.
“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.”
Portugal showed they are far from a one-man operation against hosts France, defending resolutely and outsmarting France.
“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.”