Ronaldo branded 'true captain' by Portugal boss Santos despite Euro 2020 armband exit strop

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Cristiano Ronaldo acted like a "true captain" throughout Euro 2020, says Portugal coach Fernando Santos, with the Juventus superstar forgiven for his emotional reaction to a last-16 defeat that saw him throw a captain's armband around.

The current holders of a continental crown have seen their grip on that trophy slip, with a 1-0 reversal suffered at the hands of Belgium in Seville on Sunday.

Ronaldo was understandably disappointed at the final whistle, leading to him parting with his armband and kicking it across the turf, but Santos has no issue with the contribution of his talismanic skipper at another major tournament.

What has been said?

Santos told reporters when quizzed on a five-time Ballon d'Or winner: "Ronaldo scored five goals in the tournament.

"He didn’t score today but he was a true captain in every sense of the word.

"He tried to turn the game around. There’s no issue with Ronaldo."

The bigger picture

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal Belgium GFX

Ronaldo's five-goal haul has seen him draw level with Iran icon Ali Daei at the top of the all-time international scorers chart on 109.

He will not be breaking that record any time soon, with Portugal not due back in action until facing the Republic of Ireland on September 1 in World Cup qualifying, but there is no sign of a modern-day great slowing down.

Santos will continue to call upon a mercurial talent, with the Portuguese frustrated at seeing their latest Euros campaign come to a close after bossing proceedings for long periods against the much-fancied Belgians.

"I think it is unfair but this is football. If you score you win - they scored, we didn’t," Santos added.

"But apart from the first 10 minutes when we didn’t play that well, my players played with a strong mentality and tried to attack.

"We wanted the ball. We had 29 shots and couldn’t score one. They had six shots and one on target and they won.

"We hit the post and carried on being dangerous but the ball wouldn’t go in.

"We kept our heads up and kept thinking we could turn things but this is football. Sometimes we have had fewer chances and won.

"We are very disappointed. We thought we could reach the final and win – that was our attitude.

"Some of the lads are crying in the changing room but we can still win more titles and now we are looking forward to the World Cup."

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