ronaldo playing for portugal

With Euro 2024 fast approaching, we take a look at the most prolific players in the history of the European Championships. Without further ado, here are those potent stars:

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, 14 goals in 25 appearances)

Unsurprisingly, the Portuguese superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, leads our list of top goalscorers in the Euros. His 14 goals in 25 appearances in the competition for the Selecao are a testament to his prowess and consistency in front of goal.

Ronaldo made his debut at the European Championships in 2004 on home soil and, incredibly, will feature in his sixth competition in 2024, which will be a record.

The forward’s only silverware with his national team came in the 2016 edition of the competition. Despite coming off injured in the final against France, his team recorded a surprise 1-0 extra-time win over Les Bleus courtesy of a goal from Eder.

His goal count at the European Championships has contributed to Ronaldo being the top goalscorer in the history of the international game.

Michel Platini (France, nine goals in five appearances)

The legendary attacking midfielder enjoyed one of the most memorable individual performances of any player in international football when he scored nine goals in five appearances at Euro 1984 to drag France to their maiden silverware.

The tournament was only the second time that Les Bleus had qualified for the European Championships. They had failed to qualify for the previous five editions following a fourth-place finish in the first-ever Euros in 1960.

Platini, widely regarded as one of the most skilful players the beautiful game has ever produced, was involved in everything good that Les Bleus produced in the competition.

During the tournament, Platini overtook another French legend, Just Fontaine, as his country’s top international goalscorer. The record lasted until 2007 when Thierry Henry leapfrogged him in scoring charts.

Platini’s display at Euro ’84 will not have surprised many, as he had won the Ballon d’Or in 1983 before claiming the award in 1984 and on a third consecutive occasion in 1985.

His goals not only saw him finish as the competition’s top goalscorer in Euro ’84, but they also helped him to claim the Player of the Tournament award, such was his influence on his team’s triumph.

Antoine Griezmann (France, seven goals in 11 appearances)

While the versatile star couldn’t quite match his compatriot in the goalscoring stakes, Griezmann’s record of seven goals in 11 European Championship appearances is a highly respectable one.

Griezmann played at two European Championships in 2016 and 2020 and is in the Les Bleus squad for Euro 2024. He was part of France’s team that suffered the 2016 final defeat against Portugal.

The forward’s six goals in the tournament were a slight consolation, as he claimed the competition’s Golden Boot.

Alan Shearer (England, seven goals in nine appearances)

The forward is one of the most natural goalscorers that the English game has ever seen. His goalscoring prowess was on full display over the years at European Championship finals, illustrated by his seven goals in nine finals appearances.

Shearer represented England at three European Championship finals in 1992, 1996 and 2000.

The closest the forward got to winning silverware with the Three Lions was at Euro ’96 when his team suffered a heart-breaking semi-final defeat against Germany in a penalty shootout.

The forward scored in all but one of England’s games during the tournament, which helped him to the Golden Boot award.

Ruud van Nistelrooy (The Netherlands, six goals in eight appearances)

Van Nistelrooy was an arch-predator in his prime, simply lethal in front of goal in both club and international football.

The forward missed out on Euro 2000. However, he featured in the next two editions of the competition for the Oranje, scoring an impressive six times in just eight appearances.

His four goals in Euro 2004 helped his team to the semi-finals of the competition, where they lost 2-1 to Portugal. He returned to the Netherlands squad for Euro 2008, making three appearances and scoring two goals.

Patrick Kluivert (The Netherlands, six goals in nine appearances)

The forward had a respectable goalscoring record for the Netherlands, scoring 79 times in 40 international appearances. Six of his international goals were scored at Euro 1996 and Euro 2000.

In fact, Kluivert shared the Golden Boot with Serbia’s Savo Milosevic in the latter, having found the net five times in the Oranje’s journey to a semi-final penalty kick defeat against Italy.

Kluivert was also in the Netherlands squad for Euro 2004. However, he never made it onto the pitch, as his team suffered a 2-1 semi-final loss to Portugal.

Alvaro Morata (Spain, six goals in ten appearances)

The much-travelled striker has featured for La Roja at the European Championships in 2016 and 2020, scoring a highly creditable six goals in ten appearances across the two tournaments.

Unfortunately for the striker, the furthest his team went into the competition was at Euro 2020, where they suffered a semi-final defeat against Italy in a penalty shootout.

Morata will have a chance to add to his European Championships goal tally at Euro 2024, as he has been named in the Spain squad for the tournament in Germany.

Wayne Rooney (England, six goals in ten appearances)

The tenacious forward burst onto the international football scene at Euro 2004 at the age of just 18, scoring four goals in as many appearances in the competition.

Unfortunately for Rooney, he played just 27 minutes of the quarter-final against Portugal before picking up an injury and leaving the pitch. His team then suffered a penalty kick defeat.

Rooney and the Three Lions exited the competition at the same stage in Euro 2012, although Rooney missed the first two group games due to suspension. He scored in one of his two appearances at the tournament.

Euro 2016 was a real low for England, as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to underdogs Iceland in the last-16 to exit the competition. Rooney scored just once during that competition, a goal in the defeat against the Nordic nation.

Thierry Henry (France, six goals in 11 appearances)

The former Arsenal and Barcelona star is France’s second-highest goalscorer after Olivier Giroud, having scored 51 goals for Les Bleus in an illustrious international career.

Among his international goals were six in European Championship finals, spread across three tournaments in 2000, 2004, and 2008. His goals helped Les Bleus lift the trophy in 2000.

The forward’s last goal in the European Championship finals came in Euro 2008 when his team suffered a shock group stage exit.