Ronaldo hopes for tears of joy in Euro final

Lyon (AFP) – Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo said he hoped he would cry tears of joy at Sunday’s Euro 2016 final after his goal inspired his team to a 2-0 semi-final win over Wales.

The Real Madrid superstar scored a brilliant 50th-minute header in Lyon on Wednesday and then teed Nani up for a quick-fire second goal as Portugal qualified for the final against Germany or France.

“The team did a marvellous job to reach the final. I hope on Sunday you’ll see me crying with joy,” said Ronaldo, who as a 19-year-old wept on the pitch after Portugal lost 1-0 to Greece as hosts of Euro 2004.

“I always said I wanted to win something with Portugal. I’ve been at the highest level for 13 years. The statistics never lie.”

Ronaldo’s goal, his third at the tournament, saw him tie France great Michel Platini’s record of nine goals at European Championship finals.

He now trails tournament top scorer Antoine Griezmann of France by one goal.

Meanwhile, Nani hailed what he called a “historic” night as Portugal reached the final.

“We worked very hard and now we have a final to play.

“I feel so proud. I can’t explain the emotions that have overcome me,” said the 29-year-old who has just completed a move to Spanish side Valencia.

“We are going to live the moment which is historic for the country,” he added.

“I scored the goal through instinct. I couldn’t even prepare the way I wanted to celebrate the goal but I want to dedicate it to my family who were in the stands.”

Portugal must now wait to see who wins Thursday’s second semi-final between France and Germany but Nani said he had no preference for the opponent in the final. 

“We have to concentrate only on ourselves and just do our best,” he said.

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