1st Image (2004): At the young age of 19 (youngest player to ever play a final at the time) and breaking onto the scene with stellar performances throughout the tournament, he and his star-studded Portuguese team came up just short in the final on their home turf to the underdog Cinderella story of Greece; ending up in tears of heartbreak and pain.
2nd Image (2016): Leading and carrying a team of youngsters, forgotten names, and role players all the way to the final against the host nation (who for many were favorites to win it all prior to the start of the tournament) - only to find himself injured in just 20 minutes of action and forced to sit out the rest of the match. Witnessing his teammates from the sideline deliver with all the passion and fight that he led them with up to this moment. This time, the tears were of relief, joy, and nightmares erased.
I’m usually neutral to begin the Euro’s, but by the end I usually end up leaning towards certain teams, for this final however I was ok with either team winning initially, but I found myself reminiscing about my experience watching euro 2004 as a kid and how badly I wanted C.Ronaldo and Figo (some of my favorite players) to win at that time; those emotions were ignited again and I just had to hope Portugal would defy all odds and pull it off somehow.
Congrats to Portugal, and congrats to C.Ronaldo for getting his first international trophy. This is the reason I watch sports, for these beautiful narratives, it’s amazing watching certain careers and storylines unfold over the years.