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'I've never seen a champion as hungry as Ronaldo' - former Portugal star Costa

2:06 AM GMT+8 23/03/2019
Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal Spain 2018
The playmaker featured alongside the then 19-year-old Manchester United forward during the 2016 European Championships

Cristiano Ronaldo's insatiable desire to win trophies has remained throughout his career, according to former Portugal star Rui Costa, who claims he has never seen a more hungry champion.

Costa played alongside Ronaldo in the 2004 European Championships when Portugal lost in the final to Greece on home soil.

The playmaker spent the majority of his career in Serie A with Fiorentina and AC Milan before retiring in 2008, and he is now sporting director at Benfica.

Portugal will take on Ukraine in their opening European Championship qualifying game as Fernando Santos' side begin the defence of their title after Ronaldo eventually lifted the trophy in 2016.

Costa told Tuttosport : "How is he different? In the ambition. Never seen a champion more hungry than him. He lives every game as if it was the last of his career.

"With Cristiano I played the EUROs of 2004. Then he was a kid, but we were all old. We knew very well that he would become a Ballon d'Or winner.

"An anecdote? Cristiano was a crazy dribbler and every training session he showed us incredible things, and always different, with the ball.

"We almost never succeeded. Unfortunately, I did not have time to serve an assist to CR7."

Ronaldo captained Portugal to a 1-0 victory over France in the 2016 Euro final, with substitute Eder scoring the winning goal. 

That result completed a remarkable double for the forward after he had already picked up the Champions League trophy for Real Madrid that year, and he would go onto win the later competition in the next two season. 

And at his new club Juventus, Ronaldo has already played a crucial role in The Old Lady's European campaign having netted a stunning hat-trick against Atletico Madrid to seal a 3-2 aggregate win on March 12.

Ronaldo's goals helped Juve overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg to see them through to the quarter-finals.

Fortunately for the Serie A club, he has also avoided a suspension for his 'cojones' celebration in the comeback win.