Cristiano Ronaldo stretchered off in tears in Euro 2016 final
Last Updated: 11/07/16 2:43am
A tearful Cristiano Ronaldo was forced off injured in tears just 25 minutes into Portugal's Euro 2016 final against France in Paris.
Ronaldo had attempted to play on with a heavily bandaged knee after hurting himself in an eighth-minute collision with France's Dimitri Payet.
But after one acceleration midway through the first half Ronaldo signalled to the bench that he could not carry on and could not hide his despair as he was replaced by Ricardo Quaresma with the game still goalless.
Nonetheless his side carried on and won the match 1-0 thanks to Eder's extra-time strike, with captain Ronaldo inspiring the players from the touchline.
The early exit had looked like heartbreak for Ronaldo in a second European Championship final, 12 years on from defeat to Greece at Euro 2004 on home soil left him in tears, but he was to return later to lift the trophy with his jubilant team-mates.
Ronaldo carried his nation's hopes and, as team talisman, led Portugal to the final, trying to claim one of the few prizes missing from his glittering trophy cabinet - an international tournament win.
In the semi-final against Wales, he equalled Michel Platini's European Championship goal-scoring record with nine.
New Valencia signing Nani was handed the captain's armband in Ronaldo's absence.
Ronaldo's Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale immediately took to Twitter to express his concern for the Portugal forward.
Bale tweeted: "Terrible to see Cris come off like that. Hope it's nothing too bad."
After roaring his side on tears of heartbreak turned to those of joy as Eder's extra-time strike (109) sealed the win that ensured Ronaldo does indeed end his international trophy drought.