Published: 12th July
After the blockbuster of sport that happened this past weekend, with Serena Williams winning her 7th Wimbledon Crown to Andy Murray securing his 2nd Wimbledon title (his coach and mentor Ivan Lendl was a huge influence) and Lewis Hamilton in the prime of his career winning a 4th home grand prix at Silverstone to finally Portugal winning their first ever international trophy at the Euro 2016 championships.
The spotlight was on one man, Cristiano Ronaldo. He was forced off during the first half of the match with a knee injury. This may have seemed great news for France..but it didn’t turn out that way.
While Ronaldo the player, was at first in tears and bandages in the dressing room, Ronaldo the coach was soon unleashed on the touchline – ‘Ron Manager’ as we had never seen him before
'Our captain put in an immense effort,' Portugal's first-team coach Fernando Santos said. 'He has amazing team spirit. Twice he tried to get back on the pitch in spite of his injury but him being in the dressing room and on the bench was very important for us. He believed - just like myself - that it was going to be our night.'
Cristiano Ronaldo inspired his Portugal teammates with an 'unbelievable' half-time speech, according to Cedric Soares.
Ronaldo, 31, may have been unable to influence things on the pitch, but he made his presence known from the sidelines. And now Soares has revealed just what Ronaldo said to his teammates during the interval.
"It was a very tough moment," Soares said, as per ESPN. "I remember, for me and the team, everybody was a little bit in shock I think.
"In half-time, Cristiano had fantastic words for us. He gave us a lot of confidence and said 'listen people, I'm sure we will win, so stay together and fight for it.'
"It was really unbelievable. I think all the team had a fantastic attitude. And we showed tonight when you fight as one you are much much stronger."
Asked whether Ronaldo was downbeat after having to go off, Soares said: "No, he was fantastic. His attitude was unbelievable. Always he helped a lot our teammates, he always had a lot of motivational words and all the team of course reacted to them, so it was very good.”
Ronaldo spent much of the second half and extra-time acting as an effective assistant manager, giving instructions from the bench, and Soares praised this as beneficial to the players.
It's fair to say that Portugal defied the odds to overcome their opponents, but you have to credit them for their fight and hunger throughout the 120 minutes at the Stade de France.
Following the game, Portugal boss Santos praised his 'amazing group' of players.
He stated, as per ESPN: "I've always said we're a team. I never hide my thoughts -- I always tell my players what's on my mind.
But ultimately nothing Ronaldo does as an individual or for a club again will ever match what he has done this month. He has made the extraordinary so ordinary that no 50-goal season will ever register again. He has won enough club finals and trophies that one more would not tip any balance.
This win, though, counts for more than anything else he has won before. He has inspired a team to be better than they thought they could be, and shock a whole tournament. He has dragged a team up to his level, which no-one thought he could do. And he has done so with a maturity and selflessness few saw in him. Nothing else he has done or will do will match this.