They Score When They Want: The European Championship’s Top Scorers
When it comes to football it goes without saying that goals win games. It’s why good goalscorers are so highly sought after. You can guarantee whoever comes out top scorer come July 10 will see his price tag sky rocket.
For some strikers though it’ll be just another major tournament for them. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney could jump to the very top of the Overall top scorers. But who will they leapfrog?
We take a look at the legends at the very top of the European Championship scoring table.
Michel Platini may be public enemy number two when it comes to football right now – his pal Sepp being number one – but it doesn’t take anything away from his remarkable feat in the 1984 European Championship.
Like this summer, the tournament was held in France and the attacking midfielder was the linchpin of the French side which lifted the title.
Scoring nine goals in just five games, the 1984 edition was the only tournament he played in, although he did take part in the 1978, 1982, and 1986 World Cups alongside Alain Giresse, Luis Fernandez, and Jean Tigana, known as the ‘carre magique’.
Platini was named Player of the Tournament in Euro ’84, and his nine goals is still a record both in a single tournament and overall.
Despite England never having won a European Championship, in fact during Alan Shearer’s career they only made it past the Group Stage once. Despite that though it didn’t stop the Newcastle legend bagging seven in just nine games.
His most influential tournament came on home soil in Euro ’96 when he top scored with five leading England to the Semi Final where they were heartbreakingly knocked out by Germany on penalties.
Shearer’s England record was quite phenomenal scoring one in almost every two games and was his nation’s undisputed leader for a number of years. Not only that, almost a third of his goals came in major tournaments, highlighting what a big game player he really was.
Ruud van Nistelrooy
Ruud van Nistelrooy’s career was plagued by injuries, so how he managed to be as prolific as he was is beyond us. The former Manchester United forward played in two European Championships scoring six goals and helping his side reach the Semi-Final in 2004 and Quarter Final in 2008.
In his first tournament, he finished second top scorer in the tournament and featured in the UEFA Team of the Tournament, the only Dutchman to do so.
If it wasn’t for injuries, it’s likely he would have earned many more than 70 caps across an international career that spanned 13 years.
Patrick Kluivert was one of the world’s best strikers for well over a decade representing the likes of Barcelona, Milan, and home town club Ajax. He lifted trophy after trophy for his club and scored goal after goal for his nation including six in European Championship football.
He played for his nation in the 1996 and 2000 editions of the tournament, top scoring in the latter as the Netherlands reached the Semi Final only to be knocked out on penalties by Italy.
He played 79 times for his nation bagging 40 times, including a hat-trick in the European Championship, one of only seven players to ever do so.
It seems a huge shame Euro 2020 won’t be featuring one of the world’s biggest footballers this summer, and it’s unlikely Zlatan will ever get to grace a European Championship again. Now aged 34, the Swede has played in three championships, his first coming in 2004 when Sweden made it to the Quarter Final.
The following two tournaments saw them fail to make it through the Group Stage but it hasn’t stopped Ibrahimovic joining a list of top-scoring stars. He’s scored two in each of his three tournaments, and throughout his international career has scored 62 in 111 games.
He’s often noted as one of the greatest Swedish sports stars of all time behind only Bjorn Borg and will certainly go down as one of the finest footballers of his generation.
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