PARIS • Losing a final to Cristiano Ronaldo has become an unfortunate habit for Antoine Griezmann, who was yesterday named best player of the Euro 2016 tournament.
The France forward missed a penalty for Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final in May and his team went on to lose on penalties to city rivals Real with Ronaldo sealing the shoot-out win.
"I've just lost my second final in just over a month and it sucks," Griezmann told reporters after Les Bleus lost 0-1 in extra time to Ronaldo's Portugal in the European Championship final on Sunday.
Griezmann, who scored six goals in the tournament to become France's new football darling, could not muster his usual smile as he collected his trophy for being Euro 2016's top scorer.
"We came close, really close," said the 25-year-old, who has had such a magnificent breakout season with Atletico that club coach Diego Simeone labelled him as among the top three players in the world.
"Portugal did not create many chances but they were smart. We weren't as clinical as we were against Germany - we hit the post and I also had some chances - it is frustrating but we're going to need to come back stronger.
"It's frustrating. I'm proud of our group and of what we have achieved, but this was simply not our night."
Griezmann said France must now quickly lift themselves for the 2018 World Cup qualification tournament that starts in September.
France coach Didier Deschamps, who helped Griezmann shine at the tournament by moving him closer to Olivier Giroud up front, offered sympathy.
"Antoine is a great player and we owe him a lot," Deschamps said. "Maybe he was not clinical or fresh enough tonight but I can't reproach him and there will be better days for him, I'm sure."
The rest of France woke up yesterday equally disappointed that their month-long party fell flat at the last hurdle.
Organisers had even prepared a bus for a victory parade with "Thanks" on the back and "European Champions 2016" on the side, according to video taken by a motorist who spotted it on a main road into Paris before Sunday's final.
Around 40 people were arrested in Paris on Sunday after police used tear gas and water cannon against fans hurling glass bottles at officers at the Eiffel Tower during the final.
Crowds of supporters, some donning French or Portuguese flags, gathered at the base of the Paris landmark before and after Portugal's stunning victory over France after they were refused entry to the fan zone which was packed to its 90,000 capacity, Paris police said. Other arrests took place outside the Stade de France, where the match was played. They were for public order offences.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE