With the Euros 2016 done and dusted, we select our top five players who lit up the tournament – a...
With the Euros 2016 done and dusted, we select our top five players who lit up the tournament – and those who had a campaign to forget. Let us know if you agree with our selection in the comment box below
Antoine Griezmann – France
The first man since compatriot Michel Platini to score five or more goals in a European Championship tournament, the Atletico Madrid hitman has been in fine form for the hosts.
His six goals took France to the final – it’s just a shame for Les Bleus he was off target in the showpiece against Portugal.
Aaron Ramsey – Wales
With all the talk surrounding Gareth Bale, it was impossible not to overlook Aaron Ramsey’s contributions in France.
With four assists and one goal to his name, he was actually involved in more goals for Wales then Bale was – and the Arsenal man’s absence in the semi-final against Portugal was arguably the biggest factor in Wales reaching the Paris final. A phenomenal tournament.
Leonardo Bonucci – Italy
It is always hard for a defender to be included in such a list but Bonucci followed in the footsteps of the likes of Fabio Cannavaro and Paolo Maldini in drawing the plaudits for a superb showing, scoring the equaliser in the quarter-finals against Germany from the penalty spot only to see Italy beaten in a shootout after the 1-1 draw.
The player has been linked with a £51million move to the Premier League this summer – and on the back of his displays in France, it’s easy to see why.
Dimitri Payet – France
Following a fantastic first season in the Premier League with West Ham, Payet went into the tournament as a fixture in the home side.
He scored a last-gasp winner in the tournament opener against Romania to set the tone for Didier Deschamps’ men and struck again, this time in the sixth minute of injury time, against Albania before adding his third of the tournament in the quarter-final win over Iceland.
Not at his best in the final, but that won’t diminish from a fantastic tournament.
Renato Sanches – Portugal
Sanches signed for Bayern Munich ahead of the tournament and the 18-year-old has shown why the Bundesliga giants have made such an investment.
Although he only appeared in cameo appearances from the bench in the group stages, the former Benfica midfielder was named man of the match after scoring and playing all 120 minutes in the quarter-final penalty shootout victory over Poland.
Joe Hart – England
Went into the tournament as Roy Hodgson’s undisputed number one but the Manchester City goalkeeper did not cover himself in glory, allowing a Bale free-kick to beat him from long-range and then being at fault for Iceland’s winning goal in the round of 16 as Kolbeinn Sigthorsson’s effort passed through his hands.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Sweden
Fresh from a Ligue 1 campaign where he scored 38 goals, the self-proclaimed legend departed Paris Saint-Germain and looked to lead Sweden to the latter stages of the Euros.
Instead he captained the side to just one point, with the 34-year-old not scoring and having just one shot on target as Sweden crashed out at the group stage. International retirement and a move to Manchester United followed.
Thomas Muller – Germany
The Bayern Munich forward has scored 10 World Cup goals during his career but is still to find the back of the net in a European finals. And he was found wanting again when Die Mannschaft needed his goalscoring prowess, missing some good chances, including a penalty in the shootout victory against Italy, and failing to lead the line with any success in the semi-final defeat to France.
In what was supposed to be the tournament in which he announced himself as one of the world’s top strikers, the Tottenham man endured a Euros to forget. Looking generally knackered throughout, Kane’s free-kick against Iceland drew a number of amusing memes in with what can be described as the only memory he can take away from France.
Simone Zaza – Italy
There is one main reason why the 25-year-old Juventus forward flopped at the Euros – his shocking penalty miss in the quarter-final shootout defeat to Germany.
Having been introduced from the bench in the dying moments of extra-time purely to take a spot-kick, Zaza’s peculiar run-up before blazing his effort sky-high over the crossbar will be an enduring memory of the tournament – with the internet awash with Photoshopped mockery and memes.