Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo gave a terrific interview in the latest edition of the FPF 360 magazine, which was distributed to journalists at the Portugal-Israel friendly match on Wednesday evening.
The figurehead of the Seleção talked about his own and the squad’s shared ambition to add more glory to recent conquests by Portugal, and his hopes and expectations going into the tournament.
PortuGOAL transcribes a translated and abridged version of the interview.
“I’m going into this Euro as if it was my first. I’m as motivated or even more so than in 2004, which was my first European Championship. We are the reigning champions and we are again one of the teams who are contenders to lift the trophy.”
My most important trophy
“I’ve won a lot of trophies in my career, Champions Leagues, national championships and cups in several countries, but Euro 2016 was the most important trophy that I’ve won. It was a fantastic night, with lots of emotions. Winning with Portugal has a special taste.”
Group F opponents
“These are the teams we got in the draw. We’re in the finals of a European Championship. There are no easy games. Above all we need to focus on our own game. We are a team packed with quality, the current European Champions and winners of the first Nations League, nobody can forget that. We have to be at our best in every game. We’re working hard, we have total confidence in the coaching staff and the boss Fernando Santos. We’ll give a good response for sure.”
Secret of Portugal’s success
“As well as the talent, we have a squad that is 100% committed. Our coach deserves a lot of credit for bringing this spirit to the Seleção. A lot of what we have achieved is down to the excellent environment we have created here. I love playing for the National Team, as I’ve said many times before.
“We’ve got a lot of young players coming in which is very positive. Despite having lots of young players, most of them already have considerable international experience, playing in the best leagues around Europe. The excellent team spirit is clearly visible in our Euro 2016 and Nations League triumphs.”
“The expectations are high because of what Portugal have achieved. We won two very important trophies in recent years and that brings responsibility. We always play to win. It’s not a question of playing pretty football or playing ugly football: what’s important is to play winning football and win trophies. We like to have high expectations. It’s a sign of our ability and that we are looked upon as a strong team that can be winners.”
“When it comes to playing for the National Team, even more so in a major tournament, there is no such thing as tiredness or heavy legs.”
Where do you hope to be on 11 July?
“I hope to be happy. We have fantastic memories of 10 July [Euro 2016 final]. It was a magic day that will forever be in the history of Portugal. This year the final falls on the next day, the 11th, and obviously we all want to be at Wembley on that day.
“But I don’t think there’s any point in promising silverware or making predictions. What I can promise is that we will go into every game to win it. We want to make the Portuguese people proud of us and we’ll be giving everything for Portugal. I have a lot of belief in this team.”
By Tom Kundert