​Cristiano Ronaldo's first coach at Sporting Lisbon didn't want him to be known as 'Ronaldo' and tried to refrain from giving him special treatment. 

Leonel Pontes was the first major coaching influence in the superstar's life, helping him hone his natural abilities as he forged a lasting impression before moving on to Manchester United in 2003. 

Pontes said that he tried to avoid calling Cristiano 'Ronaldo,' because of the obvious connection to the 'original Ronaldo,' the world-class striker who played for Real Madrid, Barcelona and Inter Milan during a decorated career. 

“I would have preferred it had they not called him Ronaldo back then, because there was already a pretty famous Ronaldo,” he told Marca.

Ronaldo was a beaten Euro 2004 finalist with Portugal, when they went down in a shock defeat to Greece, but will fulfil his promise of delivering silverware for his country with a win over the hosts France on Sunday night. 

“He knows it’s a really unique opportunity and I see him really motivated. He’s not only preparing himself, he’s preparing all the others too,” Pontes added.

“He was already a leader as a 12-year-old just like he is now – it didn’t matter what the game was.”

There have been suggestions that Ronaldo will retire from international football following the final, but Portugal coach Fernando Santos assuaged such fears in his pre-match press conference.


"He'll play for another six, seven, 10 years," Santos said. "I don't know. But tomorrow won't be his final match.

"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."