Summary

  • Guerreiro wins EURO 2016 with Portugal.
  • Born in Paris suburb to French mother and Portuguese father.
  • Moves to Dortmund after spending entire career in France.

Although France has a sizable Portuguese population, it is fair to assume that new Borussia Dortmund left-sided specialist Raphael Guerreiro was one of only a select few Paris natives inside the Stade de France celebrating at the end of a dramatic UEFA EURO 2016 final on Sunday.

The 22-year-old made a telling contribution as Portugal edged host nation France 1-0 in extra-time, just a stone's throw from his former Le-Blanc Mesnil abode in the northeastern suburbs of the French capital.

"It's not really sunk in yet," Guerreiro told Radio e Televisao de Portugal after the game. "I've been playing for Lorient, and winning this title at the end of the season sounds incredible for me. And it's in France too, so it's even more special. Right now, it's the best moment of my career."

Guerreiro was one of three Bundesliga players in the Portugal squad along with Renato Sanches and Vieirinha.

'Portugal in my heart'

Born and raised in France, Guerreiro spent his formative years in the renowned Clairefontaine academy alongside the likes of Juventus FC midfielder Paul Pogba and Real Madrid CF defender Raphael Varane, but made no secret of his desire to one day pull on the red and green of his father's homeland. In 2013, he got his wish.

"I chose Portugal," he recalled, shortly before making his debut for the Portugal Under-21s on 21 March 2013. "It was exclusively my decision. Neither my family nor my agent tried to get me to change my mind. Even when I was little, I always cheered him for the Portuguese and not so much for the French. I have Portugal in my heart."

Potential fulfilled

Guerreiro went on to take his senior bow under current Portugal incumbent Fernando Santos in a UEFA EURO 2016 qualifier against Armenia towards the end of 2014, and scored the winning goal in a friendly against Argentina four days later. Having made a seamless transition from the French second division with SM Caen to the top tier with FC Lorient, he was now following suit on the international stage.

His stock rising, Guerreiro enjoyed one last hurrah with the U21s in summer 2015, playing an integral role in Portugal's run to the final of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in the Czech Republic. Although Portugal were beaten 4-3 on penalties by Sweden at the Eden Stadium in Prague, Guerreiro came up smelling of roses, earning a place in the Team of the Tournament on the back of a string of assured displays up and down the left flank.

Guerreiro made a name for himself in Ligue 1 with Lorient.

Parisian walkway

The learning process continued apace back on the domestic scene in 2015/16, with Guerreiro turning out 34 times in Ligue 1 for Lorient. He deservedly made the cut for Portugal's final 23-man EURO 2016 squad, before confirmation of a four-year deal with Dortmund broke during the group stage of the competition.

At the time, Dortmund's sporting director, Michael Zorc, talked up the Portugal international as an "accomplished and versatile" player, but even he may have been surprised with the manner in which his new recruit conducted himself at his maiden senior international tournament, not least in a heart-stopping final that left City of Love locals lamenting Guerreiro as the one that got away.

Christopher Mayer-Lodge

Below, the tweet celebrating Guerreiro's inclusion in UEFA's Team of the Tournament at EURO 2016.