Raphael Guerreiro was an integral part of the Portugal side that broke French hearts at EURO 2016. - © © gettyimages
Raphael Guerreiro was an integral part of the Portugal side that broke French hearts at EURO 2016. - © © gettyimages

Dortmund and Portugal star Guerreiro's heart-stopping homecoming

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."

- © gettyimages / Laurence Griffiths

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.

- © imago / Panoramic