The Euro 2020 finals tournament
is scheduled to kick-off in just a few months. As can be expected, predictions are coming in thick and fast.
Betting odds are fluctuating, along with the fortunes in the respective domestic leagues and Kenyans are counting their pennies in the hope they can afford the flight to one of 12 host cities.
Can Cristiano Ronaldo manufacture a back-to-back title win for defending champs Portugal? Or will the Spanish Armada set sail and pull off a magnificent broadside? Perhaps England can confound the critics and do something magical in Europe… after all!
Now, as the excitement mounts and the 24 qualifying teams work on the tactics required to win, it’s a good time to remember the colourful conjurers who have racked up more European Championship goals than anyone else.
These are the wizards with white line fever who step onto the field with one intent - to score goals and beautiful ones at that!
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Michel Platini - 9 Goals at Euro 1984
Frenchman Michel Platini may have besmirched his legacy by being dumped by FIFA for unethical behaviour but during his football playing heyday he was a goalscorer par excellence.
Le Roi - as he was known - honed his considerable talents in the French Ligue 1 before migrating to the Serie A where he swiftly became the ‘main man’ at Juventus.
The three-time Ballon d’Or winner arguably reached his peak at Euro 84 where he scored nine of France’s 14 goals… and took just five matches to set a new Championship record! Platini pulled off his coup in fine style, scoring a hat-trick against neighbours Belgium.
Cristiano Ronaldo - 9 Goals at Euro 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016
Platini’s all-time record stood for 32 years before a talented striker from Portugal matched the magic. Cristiano Ronaldo, who at that stage was Real Madrid royalty, was also the key player in the national team.
What more can be said about the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, four-time recipient of the European Golden Shoe and a man who has won five UEFA Champions Leagues?
Well he shoved Platini aside and joined him on the European Championship podium to share the honours for the most goals scored in the history of the tournament.
Platini however deserves the biggest high-five for scoring all nine goals in just one Championship. What is inevitable is Ronaldo is the odds-on favourite to shatter the all-time Euro goalscorer record… once and for all!
Alan Shearer - 7 Goals at Euro 1996 and 2000
Alan Shearer was the driving force behind England’s 1996 race for Euro glory. The English Premier League’s all-time goalscorer propelled the Three Lions within ‘spitting’ distance of the trophy, only to stumble at the penultimate hurdle.
Shearer, who ended his auspicious career with 260 Premier League goals including 58 penalties and 11 hat-tricks, banged in the ball to score five Championship goals at Euro 96. He followed that up with a brace in the following clash of the Euro titans to end two adrift of incumbent record-holders, Platini and Ronaldo.
Smokey, as the affable England striker was known, will long be remembered for his incredible propensity for scoring goals with his head. His career stats on the international stage are 30 goals in 63 appearances… five of which were in front of a buzzing home crowd at the 1996 European Championship.
Can any other player pip Ronaldo at the all-time Euro Championship goalscorer post? Frenchman Antoine Griezmann is only three goals adrift… and all six of his strikes were at Euro 2016!
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