Cristiano Ronaldo: King of Europe

Jorge Mendes, Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent, friend, and mentor, is infamous for being hyperbolic in describing his most famous client. “[Ronaldo] is the best in history,” is one of Mendes’ claims that carries more weight than ever after the forward helped Portugal to lift their first ever major trophy.

Even before Sunday’s game, the winger had written his name in the history books; he became the first player to contest two European Championship finals twelve years apart and the first to score in four different championships, as well becoming the tournament’s highest appearance-maker and equaling Michel Platini’s goals record in the competition.

There was only one way in which Ronaldo ever really wanted to remember France 2016, however, and on Sunday the dream was made reality despite an initially heartbreaking injury which saw him stretchered off in the first-half.

Some have questioned the Selecao captain’s impact at the tournament, but statistics dismiss any apprehension about his influence: of Portugal’s nine goals in the tournament, Ronaldo scored three and assisted three more.

Add to this the difference he has made through his leadership and creation of space by just being on the pitch, and it is difficult to imagine his side lifting the tournament without the Ballon d’Or favourite present.

From his determination in an Iceland game where Portugal looked soon to be eliminated and glory an impossibility, to his remarkable header against Wales and rousing touchline gesticulations in the final, Ronaldo has finally left an indelible stamp on a major European trophy and cemented his place as one of the best ever as a result.

Originally Published on Marca

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