ronaldo portugal hungary.jpg
Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal (R) celebrates scoring the 2-2 with Nani during the UEFA EURO 2016 group F preliminary round match between Hungary and Portugal at Stade de Lyon in Lyon, France, 22 June 2016.
Photograph: EPA/ROBERT GHEMENT

For his Portugal coach Fernando Santos, Cristiano Ronaldo is "the best player in the world. That's it."

More often than not Ronaldo gives the impression that he more than shares this sentiment, given his antics on and off the pitch which make him the number one player in football you either love passionately or hate unconditionally.

But the Real Madrid forward has plenty of numbers to back up his greatness, ranging from being Champions League all-time record scorer and three World Player awards to his achievements in France where he became Portugal's record capped player, the first man to score at four Euros and joint all-time Euro top scorer with nine goals.

Winning the title Sunday against France would however be the pinnacle for the Madeira-born player whose career started at Sporting and continued at Manchester United from 2003 before his Real move in 2009.

Victory would also be sweet because Ronaldo was a young part of the 2004 team which lost the Euro final against Greece in Lisbon.

"I believe the dream can become reality now. I hope that we can leave the pitch with a smile on Sunday and not with tears in our eyes as in 2004," Ronaldo said. "

"I always dreamt of winning something for Portugal, and its just one step away ... I am very confident, all the boys deserve it, I deserve it, every person in Portugal deserves it.

Ronaldo has scored three goals in France, including his thumping header which opened the scoring in the 2-0 semi-final win over Wales.

"For all his occasional graceless qualities, Ronaldo remains a high-class footballing terminator. You simply cannot call him off," British paper The Guardian said.

Santos has always highlighted Ronaldo's role as team player, and Wales manager Chris Coleman also praised him for his devotion to the sport.

"Talent can be a huge distraction. Talent is not enough, he has the mentality to go with it," Coleman said.

Ronaldo also knows that he can't achieve success without the team.

"Portugal is not all about me. Of course we are a team," he insisted. "I have tried to help as much as I can, not by scoring but also by fighting and giving it all. In order to win the trophy we need 23 players fighting."

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