Gareth Bale hailed Real Madrid colleague Cristiano Ronaldo as a “natural goalscorer” after he netted in Portugal’s 2-0 Euro 2016 semi-final win over Wales.
The showdown between the two Madrid heavyweights dominated the pre-match headlines and it was Ronaldo who shone brightest.
His powerful 50th-minute header saw him equal Michel Platini’s record of nine European Championship goals, with Ronaldo then turning provider – albeit perhaps inadvertently – for Nani’s goal three minutes later.
And Bale told ITV of his club-mate: “Obviously he’s a natural goalscorer and he scored yet again.
“But as I said it’s not about them, it’s about us. We’ll pick ourselves up. We’re a proud bunch. We have to be proud of what we’ve achieved in this tournament.
“We want to thank all the fans obviously – the support we have had is absolutely incredible.”
Wales were at least the equal of their opponents in a tight first half and Bale reflected on what he felt were fine margins that decided the outcome.
“They got their first goal and were lucky on the second,” he added. “We tried our hardest to get back into the game and fought until the last second.
“We gave everything. We have no regrets.”
Fernando Santos’ side will meet hosts France or world champions Germany in the final.