Ronaldo to the rescue! Cristiano 'drops the mic' in Euros classic

Cristiano Ronaldo Nani Portugal Hungary
It had been a difficult day for the Portugal skipper, who had thrown a reporter's microphone into a lake, but it was a welcome return to form against Hungary


Euro 2016 might have at times been the Cristiano Ronaldo show but, up until now, it had nothing to do with his goals. He called Iceland a team with a "small mentality", he missed a penalty, and he threw a reporter's microphone in a lake. Against Hungary, however, he delivered a timely reminder that even with all the extra attention on him, he is capable of delivering world class performances. 

A draw against a Hungary side resting nearly half of their outfield players is not the best result in the world but this was just what Ronaldo needed. Portugal played well in their first two games against Iceland and Austria, Ronaldo had nights to forget both times. The captain was the star here with two goals and an assist even if the team around him delivered their patchiest performance to date.

There were mistakes at the back, even from the ever-reliable Ricardo Carvalho, there were too many fouls and too many opportunities given for Hungary to go ahead repeatedly. Nani was not brave enough - twice - in closing down shots at the edge of the box and cost his side two goals. Midfield general William Carvalho was largely bypassed with Akos Elek the standout player in that department.

It was not until Ronaldo put his heel to the ball off Joao Mario's cross after Balasz Dzsudzsak put Hungary ahead for the second time that the 31-year-old began to break out and look the menace he so often does for Real Madrid. It was a wonderful moment for Ronaldo and his side. It was a goal to stun the doubters. This then, was his "Mic Drop" display. 

He had delivered an exquisite assist in the first half for Nani to get Portugal level but that was less a moment to savour as it was about getting his side back to square one at half time.

There were, of course, the usual histrionics, not least when Nani failed to deliver him  a through ball. He tried and tried and tried from free-kicks. One was saved, another went into the the stand. The form he's in from set-pieces, one outcome is just as likely as the other at the moment.

But there is much to be admired by Ronaldo's ability to get up again after being knocked down. Missing chances bothers him, it has to, but he is there time and again to try again. His second goal - a brilliant headed effort off a Ricardo Quaresma cross - was typical of the man and begged the question as to why it had looked so difficult for him to score up to that point.

Here he was aided immensely by the introduction from the bench of his great friend Quaresma. He made an impact almost immediately. The winger gave better balance to the team and allowed the excellent Joao Mario to show what he could do from a central position. The other highly-regarded midfielder in the ranks, Andre Gomes, had a difficult evening too but Renato Sanches came on to deliver bite and energy. 

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Portugal are into the knockout rounds without winning a game. They have earned a second chance after a slow start here at Euro 2016. So too has Ronaldo. Croatia lie in wait in Lens on June 25. Ronaldo and Co will be up against one of the tournament's form sides following their stunning win against Spain. This might well have been a welcome return to form for the three-time Ballon d'Or winner but the key now is to match the team's performance levels to his own. 

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