CRISTIANO RONALDO and his heroic Portugal team-mates have arrived home in Lisbon after their remarkable Euro 2016 triumph.
The trophy has not been far from the grasp of captain Ronaldo, with the squad given a stunning reception when they landed at the Humberto Delgado airport, with water in the colors green and red fired over the plane
The unexpected win over the heavily-fancied hosts sparked jubilant scenes in Lisbon, where tens of thousands of fans flooded the streets, dancing, singing and waving Portugal’s red and green flag.
The party continued well into Monday, with Ronaldo’s men landing at Lisbon airport at 11.15am to travel to meet president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at his official residence before embarking on a parade through the streets of Lisbon.
And the president said: “We are the best in Europe. We showed what we are made of: Tough, united, able to overcome all difficulties including the blow of losing Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Portugal’s dreams of lifting the Henri Delaunay Trophy looked to have taken a shattering blow when Ronaldo, their captain and talisman, fell to the ground in agony in the eighth minute following a clattering challenge from Dimitri Payet.
After twice going off for treatment and trying to come back, Ronaldo was definitively carried off, but for all France’s dominance Portugal stood firm thanks to man-of-the-match defender Pepe and a string of dramatic saves from goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
On the game, talisman Ronaldo said: “It was not the final I wanted but I am very happy. It is a trophy for all Portuguese, for all immigrants, all the people who believed in us so I am very happy and very proud.”
The victory marks a healing of sorts for Portugal after their shock defeat in the Euro 2004 final when they lost 1-0 to unfancied Greece in on home turf.
Luis Figo, who captained Portugal in that agonising defeat in Lisbon 12 years ago, congratulated the team on Twitter.
The former Inter Milan, Real and Barcelona star wrote: “CHAMPIONS! The greatest! Congratulations!”
Talisman Ronaldo posted this picture on Instagram on the plane with the caption “Te amo” which translates as “I love you”.
Portugal’s sports press hailed the team on Monday with headlines including “Epic”, “Eternal” and “Pride of Portugal”.
Portugal’s coach Fernando Santos and the other players paid tribute to Ronaldo’s role in urging the team not to give up.
Ronaldo returned from treatment at the end of 90 minutes to give pep talks to his teammates.
On Ronaldo’s influence on his stunning strike, Eder said: “He told me I was going to score the winning goal. He gave me strength and positive energy.”
CR7’s tears of pain and anguish as he was carried off turned to tears of joy at the final whistle, and shrugging off his injured knee, the forward danced past reporters with other Portugal players as they left the stadium.