Cristiano Ronaldo: When star 'coached' Portugal to Euro 2016 glory in final vs France

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Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo's first half injury at the Stade de France in the final of the 2016 European Championships couldn't have come at a worse possible time for Portugal but in every cloud there is a silver lining.  

And while Ronaldo would be reduced to tears due to the extent of the injury, what happened next would then go down as one of the greatest "Where were you when...?" moments in football history.   

He may not have actually been on the pitch for the rest of the game, but what he did on the touchline that day was enough to inspire his team to victory and a moment that will stick in our minds forever. 

Say what you want about Ronaldo, but one thing is for sure; the man eats, sleeps and breathes the beautiful game - he just can't get enough of the stuff, it's almost like an addiction. 

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Despite damaging his knee in the first half, the 31-year-old patrolled the touchline like a general marshalling his troops for battle, barking orders left, right and centre as he whipped them into a frenzy like an animal possessed. 

It was a lesson in overcoming all obstacles and encouraging others for generations to come. What's more, it was the biggest game of the year, so the whole world basically got to watch it unfold before their very eyes. The BBC even called it "The Ronaldo Final".

"Our captain put in an immense effort," Portugal's head coach Fernando Santos said in his post-match interview. "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."

Ronaldo's passion clearly influenced not just his coach, but also rubbed off on the rest of his teammates as well, as they went on to win 1-0 at the Stade de France in Paris. 

"It was a very, very tough moment. It was a really tough moment for me and for the team," Portugal full back Cedric Soares added. "I think everybody was a little bit in shock but at half-time Cristiano had fantastic words with us.

"He gave us a lot of confidence and he said, "Listen people, I'm sure we will win this Euro so stay together and fight for it".

"It was unbelievable. All the team had a fantastic attitude and showed that when you fight as one you are much much stronger.

"He was fantastic. His attitude was unbelievable. At half-time he helped a lot, our colleagues, he had always a lot of motivational words. All the team reacted to them so it was very, very good."

Cristiano Ronaldo Euro 2016 final

Portugal would go on to score the only goal of what was otherwise a rather dull game thanks to substitute Eder's super extra-time strike and in doing so claim its first major tournament triumph after defeating hosts France 1-0 in the Euro 2016 final. 

The history-making moment in turn cemented Ronaldo as arguably the biggest star in the sport, and eventually helped him secure a dream move to Serie A giants Juventus

You couldn't have scripted a more perfect ending.

Read more: Euro 2020 final: England vs Italy - Khabib Nurmagomedov gives prediction

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