Cristiano Ronaldo hails Portugal’s ‘unforgettable’ Euro 2016 title victory

An ecstatic Cristiano Ronaldo hailed Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumph as an “unforgettable” experience, and called his side’s 1-0 defeat of France in Sunday’s final one of the happiest moments of his career.

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The Real Madrid superstar limped off in the 25th minute of the tournament’s deciding game at the Stade de France with a left knee injury, but his absence did not prevent Portugal from overcoming the hosts in extra time thanks to a thunderous strike from substitute Eder in the 109th minute.

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The win brought Portugal their first major tournament title 12 years after Ronaldo & Co. improbably fell in the Euro 2004 final on home soil to unlikely champions Greece.

Ronaldo expressed his delight after the match, saying: “I’m so happy — very happy. This was something I have wanted for a long time now, ever since [Euro] 2004 [final defeat].

“I asked God to give me another chance. The Portuguese people deserve this; our players deserved this.”

The triumph in Saint-Denis gave Ronaldo a European double of club and international crowns this season after Real Madrid won the Champions League title over city rivals Atletico Madrid in May.

In what has been a happy three months for the Portugal captain, the three-time Ballon d’Or winner ranked Sunday’s win among the top moments of his ultra-successful career.

“We beat France and I’m delighted. 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.”

He added: “I’d like to thank my teammates, 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.”

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