Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed his motivation to lift the European Championship trophy once again this summer, ahead of the multi-city tournament which is due to get underway in Rome later this evening. </p><div><p>Portugal get the defense of the title they won in France in 2016 underway against Hungary on Tuesday evening, and Ronaldo revealed that he is "<em>as motivated or even more than in 2004 when I played my first European tournament"</em> <a rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/Canal_11Oficial/status/1402998583553454085?s=20">to Canal 11</a>.
Like Les Bleus, Portugal were then on home soil and failed to deliver the trophy to their countrymen.
Despite boasting one of their best-ever generations containing a budding Ronaldo plus the likes of Luis Figo and Rui Costa, they were beaten in the final by an unfancied Greece in heartbreaking fashion.
As Ronaldo pointed out, though, Portugal enter this edition of the competition with a lofty status.
“We are the defending champions, and we are part of a new group of candidates to win the trophy,” he said, promising that “The Portuguese can expect the same as always, a national team with a lot of enthusiasm and ambition.”
“We have a positive thought which is that things are going to go well. I asked the Portuguese people at home and abroad to think positively,” he stressed.
Will never ever forget this moment between João Moutinho and Cristiano Ronaldo before the penalty shootout at Euro 2016.💚❤️pic.twitter.com/Ssk6cmNJ0N
— Próxima Jornada (@ProximaJornada1) June 10, 2021
The Portuguese outfit that won the competition five years ago were carried by Ronaldo’s talents and leadership with few other big names.
But this time round, they are on the cusp of another golden generation like that mentioned previously.
Not just able to rely on his expertise, Portugal are also spoiled by other top class players including Manchester City and Manchester United pair Ruben Dias and Bruno Fernandes, plus Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix.
Up to now, Ronaldo suggested there has been harmony in the group.
“We have worked well, my teammates and I, as well as the coach,” the five-time Ballon d’Or winner claimed.
“The groundwork is done and we just need to finetune a few things.
“Now is the time for the ball to roll so that Portugal can give its best and start the tournament on the right foot with a win against Hungary,” he added.
Foes barring the Hungarians, though, namely World Cup 2014 and 2018 champions Germany and France, are difficult – which has led to Portugal’s being dubbed the competition’s Group of Death.
Yet as per usual, the 36-year-old isn’t rattled. “These are the opponents we have and we are going to play against them,” he pointed out. “There are no easy games.
“There is no point and it serves for nothing to promise titles or make predictions. What I hope and desire is that things go in the best possible way.”
Lastly, as always, there are a string of records that CR7 can smash if he is on song across the continent or merely turns up.
With one more goal, he will surpass France great Michel Platini’s overall tournament tally of nine that he presently equals.
Currently on 55 appearances, he will level Gianluigi Buffon’s haul of 58 if starring in every group game or will break it if Portugal advance and he features regularly.
Most difficult of all, Ronaldo needs five more goals to break Ali Daeli of Iran’s international goalscoring record of 109.