Euro 2022 winner Alessia Russo on making history, inspiring a generation and that viral backheel goal https://t.co/H1s8YZ5s0y — RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) June 1, 2018
Sporting Lisbon, Portugal’s most successful club side, celebrated the victory when they were crowned European champions on Saturday, becoming the first and only Portuguese club to defend the trophy.
“I remember that we won the UEFA Champions League in the same place where we lost to Barcelona in 1997,” the 28-year-old midfielder told RTÉ Sport.
“I remember I was in front of the trophy at the trophy ceremony and I was crying – it was unbelievable to watch.
“I know in Portugal at that time we were not treated and cared for the way we are treated now. I believe everything will change for the better in Portugal.
“We have not won any European football championship in the last 10 years.
“Hopefully our country can do better. We are living in a very special moment.”
Sporting Lisbon’s win has not only been a result of their superb defence but also of their goalscoring form throughout the tournament.
Alessia was the tournament’s top goal-scorer with nine goals – four from the penalty shootout.
She has now joined her compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo on the club’s all-time top scorers list.
READ MORE: Sporting Lisbon goalkeeper saves Barcelona penalty for win in Champions League final
Sporting Lisbon players celebrate their win during final press conference at the Alvalade Stadium
“It was a great result and a great tournament to play in,” she said.
“We were all thinking that we would be in Barcelona’s shoes, we all had the same goal in mind – to win the Champions League.
“It was a difficult task – we had to face Barcelona in the first half but in the second half we were more secure and we managed to win the match.”
While Ronaldo has been the team’s talisman in two previous Champions League appearances, Alessia said that she felt the “spirit” of the team had been tested throughout the tournament.
“The most important thing is to enjoy the moment and have great memories of the most important tournament in our footballing history,” she added.
“After that, it’s important to think about what we can achieve at the World