London, July 9 (IANS) England and Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand believes that the European Championship final against France is the last opportunity for Cristiano Ronaldo to win a major football trophy with Portugal and this challenge makes the Real Madrid star more dangerous.
The 31-year-old Portugal captain has the chance to win the first international title of his glittering career when his side takes on the tournament hosts at the Stade de France on Sunday.
In 2004, Ronaldo reached the final of the Euro championship but ended in tears as they were beaten 0-1 by Greece.
“I think he is very aware this is his last opportunity to win something with his country and, knowing him like I do, that makes him even more dangerous. He will be so desperate not to miss out again,” Ferdinand was quoted as saying by BBC on Saturday.
“Cristiano has produced great performances for Portugal when it matters before, for example his hat-trick against Sweden in the play-off for the 2014 World Cup,” he added.
“So France will know that it is not just in a Real Madrid or Manchester United shirt that he is capable of great things, especially because it was his moment of brilliance that helped decide Portugal’s semi-final against Wales.”
Ronaldo’s former Man United team-mate Ferdinand also feels that the former will relish the opportunity of taking on the whole of France on Sunday.
“Everyone in the country will be against him, but he will thrive off that hostility, and off their fear. The French know Cristiano is the player capable of destroying their dream because he has produced magic moments in huge matches right through his career,” he said.
“Part of the reason he is a superstar is because he is not fazed by the big occasion — quite the opposite in fact. Superstars like him relish these situations — the pressure that goes with it brings the best out of him, when other players falter.”
Ronaldo is now the joint highest scorer alongside French legend Michel Platini in European Championship history with nine goals, and holds the record for most headed goals with five.
“He has always been amazing on the ball but even when he first joined United in 2003 he was great in the air too. Early in his career it was a part of his game that was quite undervalued but he always scored a lot of headers and, the way he does it, he is the closest thing in football to basketball legend Michael Jordan,” he said.
“The way he jumps and hangs in the air is the same as Jordan and he has got the ability to stay up there, assess the situation and then put the ball where he wants to, with power. I will always remember the header he scored for United away at Roma in the Champions League quarter-finals in April 2008,” Ferdinand concluded.