After getting stretchered off in the first half of the Euro 2016 final and wiping the tear drowned moths from his face, Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t hide in self-pity — he came back out and took on a new job for Portugal: head coach. With a brace on his knee, Cristiano hobbled up and down the touchline, shouting instructions that may or may not have drowned out those of actual manager Fernando Santos.
Cedric Soares says that Cristiano delivered an inspiring halftime speech that helped propel Portugal to victory. From ESPN FC:
“It was a very tough moment,” Soares said. “I remember, for me and the team, everybody was a little bit in shock I think.
“In half-time, Cristiano had fantastic words for us. He gave us a lot of confidence and said ‘listen people, I’m sure we will win, so stay together and fight for it.’” […]
Asked whether Ronaldo was downbeat after having to go off, Soares said: “No, he was fantastic. His attitude was unbelievable. Always he helped a lot our teammates, he always had a lot of motivational words and all the team of course reacted to them, so it was very good.”
Cristiano also showed the others on the bench just how painful a knee injury can be.
— delinquentweet (@delinquentweet) July 10, 2016
Cristiano quickly proved that the long-standing debate as to whether he or Leo Messi is the better player is irrelevant. Because Cristiano is actually a player-manager and by coaching Portugal to a 1–0 extra-time win over France in the Euro 2016 final, he showed that he is unquestionably the best player-manager of all time. He also showed that not playing doesn’t prevent him from doing the topless celebration.
And when it came time to lift the trophy, Cristiano put his shirt and the captain’s armband back on and experienced a moment he’s been dreaming of since losing the Euro 2004 final to Greece as a 19-year-old.
So, for those keeping score over the last few weeks…
Messi: Missed penalty in Copa America Centenario shootout, third consecutive cup final loss with Argentina, announced international retirement, given suspended sentence of 21 months in jail for tax fraud
Ronaldo: Won the Champions League, won Euro 2016, matched Michel Platini’s Euros scoring record, made friends with a moth
Knees be damned, this truly is the Summer of Cristiano.
Meanwhile, France’s victory bus speeds off to the crusher…
— sicily (@realftmadrid) July 10, 2016