Jose Fonte denies Ronaldo inspired Portugal to Euro 2016 glory from sidelines

Jose Fonte denies Ronaldo inspired Portugal to Euro 2016 glory from sidelines

Jose Fonte has torn up the theory that Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Portugal to Euro 2016 glory – by claiming none of the players noticed his touchline encouragement. 

For years Ronaldo has been credited as an inspiration to Portugal after he prowled the touchline barking orders, setting up camp alongside manager Fernando Santos. 

The forward was in tears when he was stretchered off after 25 minutes but Portugal fought on, with Eder the unlikely hero with a long-range strike in extra-time to secure a 1-0 win. 

However, former Southampton defender Fonte – who partnered Pepe for 119 minutes of that match – insists he and his team-mates and learned of Ronaldo’s antics later. 

‘We were focused on trying to win the game. Only after we were watching the images,’ he told UEFA’s Legends Lounge series. 

Jose Fonte has claimed that Portugal’s players only found out about Cristiano Ronaldo’s touchline encouragement after their Euro 2016 final win 

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‘That’s when we realised what was happening and the coach. But we were just focusing on trying to win the game to be honest.’

It was a striking but subtle put-down to Ronaldo and his fanbase, who have long lauded his influence in that match. 

His night was full of commands and gesticulations as he threatened to show up manager Santos and at one point he gave words of wisdom to full-back Raphael Guerrero as he came to the touchline.

It is untypical of Fonte to be critical of Ronaldo, so his revelation cannot be put down to him holding a grudge. 

Indeed, in the build-up to Portugal’s last-16 clash with Slovenia at Euro 2024, he labelled Ronaldo ‘one of the best ever’ and highlighted his dedication in training. 

However, even in 2022 Fonte underlined his belief that Portugal ‘play more as a team’ without him – one of the themes that has been pondered at this summer’s tournament. 

Euro 2024 ended with heartbreak for Ronaldo as Portugal lost 5-3 on penalties to France after a 0-0 draw in the quarter-finals.

Though Ronaldo had cried after missing a penalty in extra time against Slvoenia, after their last eight exit he turned consoler as Pepe, 41, sobbed on his shoulder. 

The forward had been in floods of tears after getting injured early on in the match

The forward had been in floods of tears after getting injured early on in the match 

Afetrwards he celebrated with match-winner Eder and his fans have often credited him with inspiring Portugal

Afetrwards he celebrated with match-winner Eder and his fans have often credited him with inspiring Portugal 

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid ace, 39, is still going strong and was the top scorer in last season’s Saudi Pro League by a margin of seven goals.

However, he confirmed earlier in the competition that this would be his last European Championship.

‘It is without a doubt my last European Championship,’ Ronaldo said, via Portuguese outlet O Jogo. 

‘But I don’t get emotional about that, I get emotional about everything that football involves.

‘Because of the enthusiasm I have for the game, the enthusiasm of seeing my supporters, my family, the affection that people have for me.

‘It’s not about leaving football, because if I do, what else would I need to do or win?

‘It won’t be about getting one more point or one less point. Making people happy is what motivates me the most.’

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