Euro win seals Ron­aldo’s legacy

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

LON­DON — It was Lionel Messi who was sup­posed to be the one to re­frame the de­bate. For three sum­mers in a row, the Ar­gen­tine ge­nius has been a kick or two away from adding ma­jor tour­na­ment honours for his coun­try and go­ing some way to­wards repli­cat­ing the achieve­ments of Diego Maradona and Pele in the in­ter­na­tional arena.

For Messi, that mo­ment has ap­par­ently been and gone with his hastily an­nounced in­ter­na­tional re­tire­ment. But long-time ri­val Cris­tiano Ron­aldo can now lay claim to such an hon­our hav­ing added a Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship with Por­tu­gal to the third Cham­pi­ons League tri­umph of his ca­reer that he won just six weeks ago in Mi­lan.

In truth, Ron­aldo was never un­der the same pres­sure to de­liver as Messi. His cir­cum­stances weren’t quite akin to those of Ge­orge Best with North­ern Ire­land but nor was he weighed down by the bur­den of in­ter­na­tional ex­pec­ta­tion. Cer­tainly not since miss­ing the chance with Por­tu­gal’s so-called golden gen­er­a­tion as a teenager on home soil in 2004.

But he has achieved it nev­er­the­less, haul­ing Por­tu­gal to glory. Of course, it didn’t come in the man­ner ex­pected. There was no trade­mark win­ning goal. Ron­aldo wasn’t even on the field of play for much of the match, in­jured early on and get­ting only eight touches of the ball. Re­duced to a cheer­lead­ing role, his team-mates got the job done with­out him.

But few could be­grudge him the cel­e­bra­tions. No­body, not coach Fer­nando San­tos nor Eder, the scorer of the win­ning goal,

Por­tu­gal’s Cris­tiano Ron­aldo holds the tro­phy after win­ning the Euro 2016 fi­nal soc­cer match be­tween Por­tu­gal and France in Paris on Sun­day.

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