5 best players for Portugal at UEFA Euro 2020

Cristiano Ronaldo was the only player who stepped up for Portugal at the UEFA Euro 2020
Cristiano Ronaldo was the only player who stepped up for Portugal at the UEFA Euro 2020

Portugal failed to defend their title this year as they were knocked out of the UEFA Euro 2020 by Belgium in round 16 fixtures. Cristiano Ronaldo finished as the top scorer in the tournament with five goals but his single-handed effort was not enough to deliver a third major title for his nation.

Portugal had a strong squad for the tournament, which was even better in terms of quality than the one in 2016, so it was a surprise to see them struggling in the group stage itself. Well, they were drawn in the 'Group of Death' of this edition alongside Germany, France and Hungary, so they had to be ready for some challenge.

Players like Bruno Fernandes, Ruben Dias, Andre Silva and Ronaldo all came off a great season with their clubs. A lot was expected from the reigning champions, but in the end, only Ronaldo could step up to the challenge, while others had a tournament to forget.

While it was a disappointing campaign for Portugal, some players tried their best to support Ronaldo. On that note, let's take a look at the five best players for Portugal at Euro 2020.

Five best players for Portugal at UEFA Euro 2020

#5 Pepe

Pepe was the best defender for Portugal at Euro 2020
Pepe was the best defender for Portugal at Euro 2020

Pepe was the oldest player at Euro 2020 but his tenacity and aggressiveness on the pitch were there for all to see. The 38-year-old defender was the best player for the 2016 champions in the defensive half and his commanding presence helped keep the backline together, especially when Ruben Dias struggled under pressure.

What the player lacked physically, he made up for with his mentality and fighting spirit. The former Real Madrid man also became the player with the second-most appearances at the Euro finals.

In a tense game against Belgium, the player just couldn't control himself and in a classic Pepe fashion, tackled Thorgan Hazard, who had earlier scored the winning goal of the game.

#4 Renato Sanches

Renato Sanches
Renato Sanches

Renato Sanches was not named in the starting XI in the first two games and featured from the bench. When Fernando Santos included him in the starting XI in the game against France, the player had a real impact on the game, as he had a key role Ronaldo's both goals in that game.

His cameo appearance against Hungary was also an indication of things to come as his introduction in the 81st minute helped bring fluidity to the team and all three goals were scored after the 84th minute.

His performances were not on par with the levels he'd reached in the 2016 edition, when star performers like Fernandes and Silva did not step up for Portugal. Sanches provided the spark in the middle of the park. He had an impressive 91.6% pass completion rate and completed 48 passes per 90.

Also See: 5 best players for Italy at UEFA Euro 2020

#3 Raphael Guerreiro

<a href='https://www.sportskeeda.com/player/raphael-guerreiro' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'>Raphael Guerreiro</a> was great on the flanks for Portugal
Raphael Guerreiro was great on the flanks for Portugal

Raphael Guerreiro has been one of the best wing-backs in European club football over the last few seasons but could not replicate his form with Portugal at Euro 2020.

His attacking prowess was on display in the competition and he scored the first goal for Portugal. He attempted more crosses than anyone for Portugal and created one key pass per game.

Apart from the centre-half duo of Ruben Dias and Pepe, he had the most passes of any other outfield player. With 91.1 % pass completion he also displayed his distribution skills. In the round of 16 fixture against Belgium, he came closest to equalizing after his shot hit the post.

#2 Diogo Jota

Diogo Jota
Diogo Jota

Diogo Jota's inclusion in this list might be somewhat controversial but when it comes to stats, he was the only player apart from Ronaldo to have registered a goal and an assist for Portugal at Euro 2020.

Like most of his teammates, he too enjoyed a great season at club level and bigger things were expected of him. It is this huge weight of expectation that he failed to live up to, hence he received a lot of criticism.

While his only goal of the tournament was in the 4-2 loss against Germany, he did provide a threat going forward here and there.

#1 Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo was a one-man show at Euro 2020 for Portugal. Thanks to his goalscoring exploits, Ronaldo broke multiple records at the tournament. He also took home the title Golden Boot at Euros for the first time ever, adding to the Capocannoniere he lifted with Juventus in the 2020-21 Serie A campaign.

He was the only player for the reigning champions who managed to continue his incredible goalscoring form with his club and contributed to half of all goals scored by his team.

He managed to equal the record for most goals at international level by scoring his 109th goal for Portugal against France. His long-time rival Lionel Messi also produced a brilliant individual display in the Copa America and helped Argentina to the title.

He also became the only player aged over 30 to finish as the top scorer in Euro finals and proved for the umpteenth time that age is just a number for him.

Also See: 10 best goalkeepers in the world this season (2020-21)

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar