A major European Championship record is very likely to be broken this year. So much is still unknown about how the tournament will look a few months ahead of the big kick off, with decisions still to be made over venues and whether fans will be permitted to attend. Nevertheless, excitement is starting to build with Portugal looking to repeat their unexpected success five years ago, when they triumphed over France in the final during extra time. Here are the top scorers in the history of the European Championship.
Top European Championship scorers of all time
6 goals: Antoine Griezmann, Thierry Henry (France), Ruud van Nistelrooy, Patrick Kluivert (Holland), Wayne Rooney (England), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Nuno Gomes (Portugal)
A clutch of seven players have netted six times at the Euros but until recently it was thought only one of them would be playing at the 2021 tournament.
Griezmann joined the list of top European Championship scorers of all time with a stunning outing at Euro 2016, when the striker claimed the Golden Boot by scoring twice as many as anyone else in the competition. Those performances earned him the Player of the Tournament award and helped to pave the way for a future move to Barcelona.
The Frenchman is tied by his compatriot, Thierry Henry, on six goals. Henry’s goals came across three Euros, including the 2000 edition when France were crowned champions. A pair of Dutchmen – Van Nistelrooy and Kluivert – are in the same bracket. Impressively, their six goals at the European Championship came from eight and nine games respectively.
Gomes is perhaps the surprise name in this group. His four goals at Euro 2000 helped to fire Portugal to the semi-finals and he was still in the side and scoring when they went one step further to reach the final four years later.
Like Griezmann, Ibrahimovic will be hoping to add to his six European Championship goals this year. Recently coming out of international retirement at the age of 39, Ibrahimovic will become the oldest scorer in the history of the Euros if he can find the net at Euro 2020.
7 goals: Alan Shearer (England)
Out on his own with seven European Championship goals, the bulk of Shearer’s strikes in the tournament came at Euro 1996, when football so nearly came home for England. The Englishman is third on the list of all-time top scorers in the European Championship.
Shearer, who headed the opening goal in the semi-final against Germany, was virtually unstoppable with his goalscoring exploits earning him a place in the team of the tournament, as well as the Golden Boot. Some semblance of revenge was earned four years later when Shearer scored the winner against Germany in the group stage.
England were awful at Euro 2000, though, with Shearer’s penalty against Romania not enough to prevent an embarrassing early exit for Kevin Keegan’s side. That was his final international appearance as Shearer gave up England duty aged just 30.
9 goals: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Michel Platini (France)
A pair of European greats are out in front but their European Championship records are completely different. Platini scored all nine of his European Championship goals at the same tournament, when France triumphed on home soil.
Now disgraced after facing corruption charges, Platini’s incredible Euro 1984 will never be forgotten. He got France up and running with the only goal of the game against Denmark, then hit back-to-back hat-tricks against Belgium and Yugoslavia.
Platini’s amazing run continued in the semi-finals when his goal deep into extra time downed Portugal, then he opened the scoring in a 2-0 win as Spain were defeated in the final.
Scoring in every game of a European Championship is a record Platini is likely to retain but Ronaldo should surpass his tally of nine total goals at this summer’s tournament
The Portuguese star has made 21 appearances across four European Championships to date, with his longevity among the reasons the 36-year-old is considered an all-time great. Now Portugal’s most capped player and all-time top goalscorer, Ronaldo exploded on to the international scene at Euro 2004, scoring in the semi-final defeat of the Netherlands
Despite being among the top La Liga scorers ever, Ronaldo’s record at international tournaments is often questioned and he only found the net once at Euro 2008 when Portugal went out in the quarter-finals. Four years later, Ronaldo hit a brace to beat the Netherlands and ensure Portugal progressed to the knockout rounds
He then scored the only goal to beat Czech Republic in the quarter-finals, claiming a share of the top scorer prize even though Spain beat Portugal in the last four.
At the last European Championship, Ronaldo had to watch from the sidelines after being withdrawn in the final due to injury. But his performances played a huge role in Portugal’s success, with his two goals in an amazing 3-3 draw with Hungary keeping their hopes alive.
In a tight semi-final against Wales, it was Ronaldo who opened the scoring in a 2-0 win, though Eder was then the unlikely hero in the final. Portugal are not among the favourites for Euro 2020, but with a record-seeking Ronaldo in their side they certainly cannot be discounted. Almost certain to go clear top of all other European Championship top scorers in the coming months.
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