Twice Ronaldo tried to hobble back on the pitch before he collapsed, distraught and in tears as he conceded his tournament had come to a premature end.The huge ovation he was given by the Stade de France crowd French and Portuguese fans alike must have been scant consolation given the pivotal role he has played in this side for over a decade since making his international debut as an 18 year old.”Terrible to see Cris come off like that,” tweeted Ronaldo’s Real Madrid teammate Gareth Bale and no wonder given many had billed this as the crowning moment of Ronaldo’s career as an international player.Terrible to see Cris come off like that.True, France might have been favorites to win this final given its home advantage, but this was a real opportunity for Ronaldo to showcase his talents in an international final and add to the countless starring roles he has produced for Real Madrid.In the end given the prodigious efforts of his teammates it didn’t matter and Ronaldo, despite his injury, was well enough to jump up off the bench to join in the celebrations when Eder scored.Portugal’s fans certainly hadn’t forgotten their talisman and as the clock ticked down they chanted his name again and again.With Ronaldo out of the picture, Patricio was consistently on hand to thwart France, notably in saving a couple of fierce shots from Moussa Sissoko, who had an outstanding game.Central defenders Pepe named man of the match and Jose Ponte were also key to Portugal’s defensive obdurateness.Pepe described Portugal’s win as a victory of the “humble,” while France coach Didier Deschamps paid tribute to the victors’ organization.”The winner always deserves it,” said France coach Didier Deschamps. “You can analyze things but they didn’t get to the final by chance.”This is the first time I think that a team finished third in their group and ended up as champions.”Portugal coach Santos added: “I always said we were a team. I told them we have a lot of quality and talent.
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