Cristiano Ronaldo won't retire after Euro 2016 final - Fernando Santos
Cristiano Ronaldo will not retire after the Euro 2016 final, regardless of the result, according to Portugal manager Fernando Santos.
It has been reported that Ronaldo may follow in the footsteps of Argentina captain Lionel Messi, who retired following his nation's Copa America defeat against Chile in June. However, Santos believes that the Real Madrid forward will continue to play for his country long enough to attend at least one more European Championship.
"He'll play for another six, seven, 10 years," Santos said. "I don't know. But tomorrow won't be his final match."
Ronaldo scored one goal and assisted the other in Portugal's 2-0 semifinal win over Wales on Wednesday, but Santos has revealed that the forward's leadership skills have been just as important to the team.
"Over the past two years, he wants to be better and better," Santos said. "He's angry at himself when things don't go his way.
"But his ability to captain our team is standing out now. Everyone acknowledges it now and that's the end result of his will to improve."
Santos coached a young Ronaldo at Sporting Lisbon prior to the player's transfer to Manchester United in 2003 and has followed the player's subsequent pursuit of perfection with great interest.
"I coached him 13 or 14 years ago at Sporting, but not for very long because he played the day that the stadium [Estadio Jose Alvalade] was inaugurated, and then a bit later he went to Manchester and never came back," Santos said.
"He was amazing, very talented, and wanted to win. He's very mentally strong and he's a born winner. He wants to be the best, to be more and more perfect."
Sunday's final between Portugal and tournament hosts France kicks off at 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) in Paris.
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