The Atletico Madrid forward scored six goals in the competition to claim the golden boot, but had to settle for a runners-up medal as France lost the final 1-0 to Portugal in extra-time. This was something I have wanted for a long time now, ever since [the Euro] 2004 [final defeat].
Since Euro 2016 kicked off on June 10, the French authorities have had plenty on their hands given a state of emergency is still in place after France was targeted during the November terror attacks.
However their captain's absence seemed to galvanise Portugal, who held firm against France's attacking riches before claiming the victor in extra time, former Swansea striker Eder hitting a low shot past Hugo Lloris.
"Ronaldo told me I would score the winning goal for the team", he said.
"He gave me this strength, this energy and it was vital".
"It was awesome. Cristiano Ronaldo was forced to leave in the first few minutes, but we demonstrate that we are a family". We knew that the Portuguese people were behind us.
"I've always told them we've got great talent but we need to fight more than our opponents, run more than them and be more concentrated than them".
Portugal use injured captain as inspiration in memorable victory over hosts France. "Together we can win, we can make it, and we are champions", said Portuguese fan Joana Lobo.
"We beat France and I'm delighted", Ronaldo said, fresh from lifting the trophy. "It's very hard, it's cruel but we have to accept it, and we'll have to digest this, all of us".
"We weren't clinical enough, we weren't cool-headed enough".
He added that the entire team trusted in him, even if he had seen little gate time in the lead-up to the final. What I can say is that it was one of the happiest moments of my life.
Portugal were expected to play for penalties in the 30 minutes of extra time but they started to sense France were flagging and when Raphael Guerreiro hit the bar with a free-kick on 108 minutes they began to believe victory was in their grasp.
France coach Didier Deschamps said his team had wasted a big chance.
Cristiano Ronaldo only showed flashes of brilliance, as did Nani and Ricardo Quaresma, so it's no surprise that the only Portuguese players in Opta's statistically-devised team of the tournament play further back than the three creative outlets. A goal that we couldn't score ourselves.