Ronaldo leaves the field in tears early in Euro 2016 final

Portugal suffered major disappointment early in their Euro 2016 final with France as captain Cristiano Ronaldo went off injured midway through the first half.

The 31-year-old Real Madrid superstar sustained the injury in a robust challenge with Dimitri Payet and Patrice Evra in the opening stages of Sunday night's clash in Paris.

Cristiano Ronaldo lies injured during the UEFA Euro 2016 Final at the Stade de France. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA
Cristiano Ronaldo lies injured during the UEFA Euro 2016 Final at the Stade de France. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA

Read next: Twitter reacts to Ronaldo's injury heartbreak

Ronaldo tried to hobble on, returning with a bandaged knee following treatment, but his participation ended in the 24th minute as he was carried off on a stretcher.

It appeared Ronaldo had a knee injury. His attempt to continue ended abruptly when he signalled to the bench and he was taken off after 25 minutes.

Cristiano Ronaldo is carried off on a stretcher during the UEFA Euro 2016 Final at the Stade de France. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA
Cristiano Ronaldo is carried off on a stretcher during the UEFA Euro 2016 Final at the Stade de France. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA

Ricardo Quaresma replaced him as Portugal's chances of upsetting the hosts were dealt a blow at the Stade de France.

And it was heartbreak for Ronaldo in a second European Championships final, 12 years on from defeat to Greece at Euro 2004 on home soil left him in tears.

Ronaldo carried his nation's hopes and, as team talisman, led Portugal to the final, trying to claim one of the few prizes missing from his glittering trophy cabinet: an international tournament win.

In the semi-final against Wales, he equalled Michel Platini's European Championships goalscoring record with nine.

Ronaldo will be 35 by the time Euro 2020 comes around and this may have been his best - and last - chance of an international honour.

The 1998 World Cup final at the same venue featured injury torment for another Ronaldo, when the Brazil striker by the same name was initially left off the team-sheet in peculiar circumstances which remain unexplained, before being added to the team shortly before kick-off to little avail as his side lost 3-0 to France.

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