Cristiano Ronaldo was ruled out of Sunday’s Euro 2016 finals against France due to injuries sustained in the early minutes after kick-off, but the Portugal talisman did more off the pitch than he possibly could have done without the controversial tackle from Dimitri Payet.
Image shows Portugal international Cedric Soares at a press conference.
Teammate Cedric Soares reveals what CR7 said and how it inspired the team to a historical win against the tournament’s favorite.
During the “unbelievable” half-time speech, Ronaldo was confidently telling his countrymen that he was “very sure” they would beat France without him on the pitch. And it happened like a miracle.
The full-back admits every member of the team and coaching crew were distraught when it became clear that their hit-man couldn’t continue in the match.
However, the captain knew what his absence could mean for the country, and he fought back at the fear with confidence. Ronaldo unbelievably unscrewed his teammates with his words and actions.
“It was a very tough moment,” Soares said. “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.”
Soares added that Ronaldo was far from losing hope after he realized the game must continue without him. But the Real Madrid forward knew it was far from being over for Portugal, he found a better way to play from the sidelines. That’s what heroes do.
Image: Cedric Soares in action for Portugal at the Euro 2016.
Cedric 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.
CR7 was seen working from the bench as a medic, a linesman and even an assistant coach. He gave instructions from the sidelines, and Soares says it added to their solid mindset.
“Yes, he had fantastic words for each player in each moment of the game … I’m really really happy to be part of this group and be champion.”
Image: Portugal coach Fernando Santos
Meanwhile, Portugal coach Fernando Santos admits it’s unnecessary arguing about his star player Ronaldo or the team’s “ugly win” in the European Championships. He said after the victory: “Cristiano could score at any moment and sort everything out on his own.
“But I always said we are a team, we win as a team,” the 61-year-old coach added.
Fernando Santos insists he believed from the first day of Euro 2016 that Portugal would be in the final, though he’s not a fortuneteller. A 2-0 semi-final win over Wales was their only victory in 90 minutes of regulation time in seven games played at the tournament.
Portugal were under pressure most of the game, but again were lucky enough to steal it from France at the crucial moment. Eder’s extra-time goal completely stunned the tournament hosts and will remain a nightmare, France player Gignac admits.
The 61-year-old coach had called Portugal the “ugly duckling” side.
“Would I like us to be pretty? Yes,” said Santos after the quarter-final win over Croatia, also in extra-time. “But in between being pretty and being at home, or ugly and being here, I prefer to be ugly.”
After Portugal lost to Greece at the finals of the same competition in 2004, what a luck Fernando Santos has brought to the country’s football.