Madrid : Portugal manager Fernando Santos has hailed the pro-active role of injured captain Cristiano Ronaldo from the bench during their historic 1-0 win over hosts France in the Euro 2016 final in Paris on Sunday evening.
The Real Madrid superstar was forced to leave the pitch in tears after a Dimitri Payet’s tackle ruled him out of the competition just 25 minutes into the match.
However, Ronaldo refused to sit in silence as he combined with coach Santos on the sidelines, encouraging and issuing tactical instructions to his teammates to inspire their nation to their first ever international trophy.
“Ronaldo was fantastic,” Santos was quoted as saying by 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.
“We had to change our strategy, to have more possession against an opponent that was already tired.”
After both sides failed to score goals in the regulation time, substitute Eder struck the match-winning goal to propel Portugal to Euro Cup glory.
Ronaldo, the three-time world player of the year, played a key role in Portugal’s Euro Championship campaign, scoring a crucial brace in a 3-3 draw with Hungary that took them through to the last-16 round and then the opener in the 2-0 semi-final win over Wales.
Explaining his decision to inject Eder into the fray from 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 also said that his side fought with immense strength and hailed the hard work done by the entire team–players as well as the staff. (ANI)