Atletico Madrid midfielder Tiago is keen to draw some unlikely inspiration from Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo this season.
Ronaldo lifted the Champions League trophy for the third time in his career in May, striking the winning penalty as Madrid defeated Atletico for the second time in three seasons.
The 31-year-old then led Portugal to a shock triumph at Euro 2016, with Eder’s extra-time goal securing a 1-0 win over host nation France in the final after Ronaldo had been forced off with a knee injury.
Tiago, who has 66 senior caps for Portugal, celebrated the triumph whilst continuing his recovery from a broken leg sustained last November – an injury that ruled him out until the final league match of a season in which Atletico finished empty-handed.
But the experienced midfielder says his side must look to the way in which Ronaldo and his team-mates battled to victory in France as proof that they can challenge for honours in the coming campaign.
“I really enjoyed looking at the way Portugal won the Euros,” he told AS. “When I saw the games on TV, I could see that they sacrificed themselves for the team. Cristiano did the same.
“When a good team comes together to work together, they can achieve important things.”
Tiago, who is relishing the chance to be back among the first team, is convinced that the signings of Nico Gaitan and Kevin Gameiro will ensure that Atleti can compete for the title against Madrid and champions Barcelona.
“It’s given me huge joy to be back with the team, to feel the support of the dressing-room,” he said. “After everything that’s happened, it’s amazing. Hopefully we can have a good season.
“We have a very good squad and it’s difficult to say if it’s better or worse than previous seasons. Gaitan, Gameiro, important people have come, with experience and an eagerness to win.
“I think Atletico are as strong as in previous years, we’ll be fighting to the end for LaLiga with Barcelona and Real Madrid.”
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