Portugal defeated France 1-0 in the Euro Cup finals on Sunday in Paris and the winning manger Fernando Santos has heaped praises on Cristiano Ronaldo for playing an important role in the match even when he was on the bench.
The Portuguese captain left play midway after sustaining a knee injury due to a Dimitri Payet tackle just 25 minutes into the encounter, it was a disheartening moment for the winger. However, it did not bog him down as he played the de-facto role of an assistant coach Afrom the sidelines.
The Real Madrid star and the team captain kept on motivating the players, encouraged them, shouted on tactics and instructions in order to help them win what was their first international trophy.
“Ronaldo was fantastic,” Santos was quoted in Spanish newspaper Marca. “He tried to play on twice, but had to leave, but he was tremendous from the bench as a captain, just as he is on the pitch.AWe had to change our strategy, to have more possession against an opponent that was already tired.”
Both sides failed to score a goal in the first 90 minutes, post which the match was pushed into extra time, and this was when Portugal’s young star Eder struck and put the ball in the back of the net to ensure victory for Portugal at the European Championships.
In Portugal’s run up to the finals, Ronaldo had been a key player, equalising twice for the team in the 3-3 draw against Hungary at the group stage that took them to the last-16 and then the opener in the 2-0 win over Wales in the semi-finals.
When asked about substituting Eder off the bench, the Portuguese coach said: “I had thought that, depending on how the game was, he could be very important from the very start.”
He said, “I thought about putting Nani up front and then Quaresma on the left, but I then understood that Eder could handle it.
When I put him on, he told me that he was going to get the goal.”
Santos credited the entire teams- players as well as the support staff saying that the side fought with immense strength and put in a lot of hard work.