Ronaldo keeps the dream alive for Portugal
CRISTIANO Ronaldo hopes to fulfil a lifelong dream and lead Portugal to their first international tournament win by shocking hosts France or world champions Germany in Sunday's final.
He equalled Michel Platini's record of nine goals in European Championship finals matches by powering home the opener as Portugal overcame Wales 2-0 in Lyon on Wednesday to book their place in the final.
The Real Madrid star was on the losing side when Portugal lost their only previous final to Greece on home soil at Euro 2004.
However, victory in Paris on Sunday would cap a remarkable career already boasting three World Player of the Year awards and three Champions League wins.
"I have broken many records before and I am still breaking records for club and country, but that comes naturally and the most important thing is to reach the final," said Ronaldo.
"Dreaming is free so let's continue to dream."
The victory was Portugal's first over 90 minutes in the whole competition.
Three draws were enough to see them sneak through the group stage in third place before they saw off Croatia and Poland in extra-time and on penalties respectively.
However, Ronaldo defended their route to the final, claiming the tournament was a "marathon", not a sprint, and that they had timed their return to form to perfection.
"Personally speaking, I am very happy. After winning the Champions League, I believed in my heart we would go far in the Euros.
"Maybe it didn't start as we wanted but this is not a 100m dash, it is a marathon.
"Today I was fortunate enough to score and I am happy because I helped Portugal qualify for the final."