Ronaldo leads Portugal into Euro final
LYON, France (AP):
Cristiano Ronaldo had just propelled Portugal into another European Championship final when he made for Gareth Bale, shared a long conversation with his Real Madrid teammate, and gave him a sympathetic hug.
The battle of the superstar forwards turned into a one-man show - and, as ever, it was Ronaldo taking centre stage.
By thumping home a header and setting up strike partner Nani for the second goal, Ronaldo delivered two blows in three minutes to lead Portugal to a 2-0 win over Wales in the Euro 2016 semi-finals yesterday.
Ronaldo - a serial winner in individual and team prizes in club football - will get another chance to win his first trophy on the international stage when Portugal meet either France or Germany in Sunday's final at the Stade de France.
"I've always said my dream was to win a trophy with Portugal," Ronaldo said. "We're closer to doing it, and I believe that we'll win."
Portugal last competed in a final at Euro 2004 when the team surprisingly lost on home soil to Greece. A 19-year-old Ronaldo shed tears after that match, but he has managed to lead a much weaker side to another international showpiece.
"Portugal are not just about Cristiano Ronaldo, we are a team," Ronaldo said. "But I was able to score today and I've helped the team get to the final."