Euro 2016: Portugal returns to heroic reception
Portugal’s heroes continued celebrating their first ever international trophy on Monday as they arrived back in Lisbon following their dramatic 1-0 extra time victory over France in the final of the 2016 Euro championship.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s side were narrow winners over the hosts, a superb long-range strike from substitute Eder in extra time proving to be the only goal over the course of 120 tension-fuelled minutes.
It sparked wild celebrations for manager Fernando Santos and his team, the party continuing both before the squad flew back to Portugal and on arrival into Lisbon. Once landing back home, Ronaldo and the rest of the Portugal squad boarded an open top bus as the party showed no signs of stopping.
For Ronaldo, lifting silverware with his country was the icing on the cake of his already glittering career and the Real Madrid star was more than keen to show off his latest success.
The three-time Ballon d’Or winner displayed the trophy to fans outside Portugal’s team hotel in Marcoussis on the outskirts of the French capital, clearly still delighted after an emotional evening.
Once aboard the plane, Ronaldo posted a series of pictures to Instagram as both he and the squad continued their celebrations with the trophy.
The squad’s aircraft was even flanked by fighter jets as they made the short journey back home, with Joao Moutinho posting a video to his Instagram page.
On arrival into Lisbon, Portugal were welcomed by a stunning reception as they made their way off the plane before embarking on an open-top bus parade.
The celebrations were the continuation of a party which is set to last for weeks and be celebrated by the whole country.
Ronaldo suffered a first-half knee injury in the final at the Stade de France after clashing with West Ham United’s Dmitri Payet and was forced from the field in tears after initially trying to carry on through the pain.
“We beat France and I’m delighted,” said a clearly emotional Ronaldo after his team’s triumph.
“This is one of the happiest moments in my career. I’ve always said I wanted to win a trophy with the national team and make history. And I did it. Thank God, things went well for us.
“I’d like to thank my team-mates, our coach, our wider team, the Portuguese people and all the ex-pats who were always with us, cheering for us from the beginning. This is a unique moment for me, for all the Portuguese people and it’s unforgettable.”
“I’m so happy – very happy. This was something I have wanted for a long time now, ever since 2004. I asked God to give me another chance. The Portuguese people deserve this, our players deserved this.
“Unfortunately, things didn’t go well for me. I injured myself in the first few minutes, but I’ve always believed in these players. They have quality and ability, along with our coach’s strategy to win.”