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This is what the Portuguese players - and manager - had to say after Nations League glory

This is what the Portuguese players - and manager - had to say after Nations League glory

Several Portuguese players have spoken since victory over The Netherlands that led to Portugal lifting their second trophy in three years.

Talking to UEFA.com, Cristiano Ronaldo shared his immediate thoughts on winning the competition - and it’s fair to say that he thought this was a tournament of great value. “[I feel] Incredibly happy! It was excellent, I'm very happy. To win this trophy here in Portugal in front of the Portuguese people, for me it is a great honour.”

“The Portuguese people deserve it. They supported us right from the off in these two matches, against Switzerland and then today [vs The Netherlands], and this trophy is for all of them. It doesn't belong to the national team but all of Portugal.”

On his future with the Portugal national team and the quality of young players coming through, Ronaldo said: “The national team will continue; with Cristiano or without Cristiano. I think the team has huge potential. There are young players here, players who over the coming years will become more mature and improve.”

“I want to be part of this project because I feel good and capable of helping the national team. But, as I said, I think the national team has the potential to continue to develop and win more trophies.”

“There will be a day when I’m not here…. but that’s many, many years away.”

Young Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves was then quizzed on Cristiano Ronaldo. When asked if Ronaldo is the best player in the world, he responded: “Of course, yes. I can’t see anyone better than him.” When asked about Messi, he responded: “No, of course not, Cristiano is the best. He showed it in the semi-finals and showed it again today.”

“We are lucky to have him in our team. For me the best ever, and I’m a really lucky guy to be able to play with him. So thank you to Ronaldo and congratulations for all the team.”

Bernardo Silva was also interviewed after the game by English media, and said “I’m very happy and proud. This is my first title with my country [having not been part of the Euro 2016 squad due to injury].”

“I’m so, so happy to end my season this way, with the fantastic people who have helped out. Now it is time to rest and try to do even better next season.”

Meanwhile Bruno Fernandes said “It’s a very important moment, especially for me in my city and with this support. We are small in size, but great in talent.”

And the manager

Fenando Santos also gave some insight into how he managed to neutralise the Dutch threat, with Portugal’s opponents ultimately only mustering 4 attempts on goal in the entire match.

“We were aware of the qualities of the Dutch midfielders, and De Jong being a great creator with great potential.”

“We knew that if we blocked his freedom we would be in a good position. My players were instructed to play ball whenever they had it but also to balance their defence by keeping an eye on blocking the freedom of de Jong and others.”

Santos also said: “Since I arrived five years ago, we have tried to go after our objectives. We worked hard for every victory. It’s very difficult, spending so few few days together training. This is the fruits of their labour and hard work.”

“We are an almost indestructible family. We have always believed and known what we are capable of. We had a strong opponent but we always knew we would win this match.”

“We defended well, we attacked well, and we counter-attacked well.”

Santos then had words for those that have been critical of his defensive approach to matches, stating in his post-match press conference: “We had to limit the Dutch playing field, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to win… If you want to win, you have to play well. We won, so we played well. Whether it was handsome or not I don’t know.”

On his own mark on the team, Santos said: “I don’t enjoy talking about myself. My work must be assessed by others - by journalists, by the fans.”

On the support, Santos also had some words of gratitude: “This joy is for them and I thank them for their constant support. Fans are essential. They brought us back up whenever we were down and prompted us. The national team is a manifestation of a nation, more than clubs. It’s there for the people of Portugal. Today is the eve of Portugal Day, and tomorrow that day will be even brighter.”

“It leaves an everlasting mark on Portuguese football to have won these two trophies. The future is here and now, knocking on the door. If you look back to 2016, some of those players are no longer here. It is an ongoing process.”

“It shows how much talent we have in our country. Obviously we don’t have the financial backing to keep [the top players] in Portugal; they are scattered across Europe, but the future of Portuguese football looks assured.”

On the tournament as a whole, Fernando Santos said: “This is indeed the first edition of this tournament. I’m sure this tournament will become a classic because it is a tournament where the entire European family plays, and to be the first ever winner is something that will go down in history.”

“Now we must work to pursue further objectives.”

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