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5 players who revived their careers during Euro 2020

Switzerland v Turkey - UEFA Euro 2020: Group A
Switzerland v Turkey - UEFA Euro 2020: Group A
Naman Jain
ANALYST

With the arrival of every international tournament, there comes an opportunity for different players to manifest their abilities on a world stage. One such prestigious tournament took place between June-July for European Glory.

Italy was named European champions when they beat England on penalties at Wembley Stadium. They were the joint highest goal-scoring team along with Spain.

The Azzurri were also the team with the most tackles to their name with 99. They continued their unbeaten run from September 2018 into the competition as well.

Roberto Mancini's masterclass helped Italy create a truly inspiring football story for the rest of the world.

The international stage provides ideal opportunities to players with contrasting forms. But opportunities don't come alone. Pressure to perform comes hand-in-hand.

Some players thrive under this pressure, and some don't. Likewise, this edition also witnessed many heroes rising for their national team, making their countrymates and fans proud.

Nobody expected the likes of Kasper Dolberg, Leanardo Spinazzola, Federico Chiesa, Emil Forsberg and, a few others to make a statement the way they did.

In this article, we will look at five players who surprised all of us and rejuvenated their careers at Euro 2020.

#5 Granit Xhaka (Switzerland)

France v Switzerland - UEFA Euro 2020: Round of 16
France v Switzerland - UEFA Euro 2020: Round of 16

Granit Xhaka saved some of his best performances for Euro 2020. The 28-year-old was pivotal to Switzerland's progress to the quarter-finals, knocking out world champions France in the process.

The Swiss captain truly shined during that particular game, providing an assist and completing the most passes on the pitch. Xhaka was positive in his play throughout the tournament, completing 8.1 passes into the final third per game, only bettered by five other midfielders in the competition.

Named in ITV's team of the tournament, not many predicted his resurgence after another inconsistent season at the Emirates.

Despite a decent run of form in the latter stages of the season, Xhaka's Arsenal career has been marked by numerous mistakes. Since the start of 2016-17, he has made eight errors leading to goals, the most by any outfield player in the Premier League.

But the redemption at the Euros has restored some pride for the former Basel player, which should increase his value in AS Roma's pursuit of the midfielder.

#4 Pablo Sarabia (Spain)

Slovakia v Spain - UEFA Euro 2020: Group E
Slovakia v Spain - UEFA Euro 2020: Group E

Having learned his traits at Real Madrid, Sarabia managed just 18 minutes for Los Blancos before moving to Getafe.

Solid performances earned him a move to Sevilla, and in 2019, after joining Lionel Messi at the top of the assists chart with 13 and scoring a further 12 goals, Sarabia joined PSG for more than 20 million euros.

His time in Paris has been a disappointment, though. Sarabia hasn't achieved an involvement in more than 10 league goals in the last two seasons at PSG, something he had easily achieved in the previous four seasons.

From being behind only Messi and Suarez in goal-creating action in La Liga to being 81st in this metric last season in Ligue 1, Sarabia looked past his peak.

But the 29-year-old managed to show his class once again for Spain with two goals and two assists in only 252 minutes, helping La Roja beat their record of most goals in a single major tournament with 13.

His clinical form was exactly what the Spaniards were missing in their semi-final clash against Italy. If not for the unfortunate injury picked up against Switzerland, we could have seen a completely different outcome in the tournament.

#3 Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland)

Switzerland v Turkey - UEFA Euro 2020: Group A
Switzerland v Turkey - UEFA Euro 2020: Group A

From one 29-year-old to another, Xherdan Shaqiri continued his superb run in a major competition for the Swiss side.

The Liverpool winger has scored in the last four international tournaments, netting eight in total, making him the nation's top scorer on the big stage.

This summer, he matched his best tournament tally with three goals and played a key role in his country reaching the quarter-finals. Shaqiri's best performances came against Spain and Turkey.

The former Stoke City man also grabbed an assist against Wales and, in five games, averaged an impressive two key passes per 90 min, which was above the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Toni Kroos.

It was a huge contrast in form compared to his numbers at Liverpool, where he played just 550 minutes last term. Moreover, he has not scored in the Premier League since 2019.

Shaqiri's performances this summer were a reminder to all that he still possesses great quality with his feet.

#2 Andriy Yarmolenko (Ukraine)

Ukraine v North Macedonia - UEFA Euro 2020: Group C
Ukraine v North Macedonia - UEFA Euro 2020: Group C

One of only two Ukrainians to play in the Premier League, Andriy Yarmolenko has had a terrific tournament following a disappointing season at West Ham.

He opened his account at Euro 2020 with a stunning strike in his nation's first game against the Netherlands. It was a beautiful curling effort from 25 yards.

A man-of-the-match display against North Macedonia followed, where he assisted and scored in a crucial 2-1 victory.

The former Dortmund winger contributed four goals, putting his overall tally at major tournaments to five, which is a joint Ukraine record with Andriy Shevchenko.

The 31-year-old completed two shots on target per 90, the same as Harry Kane, and his 1.4 chances created per game helped Ukraine to get as far as the quarter-finals.

This all came following a frustrating season in east London for Andriy Yarmolenko. The Dynamo Kyiv legend made just 15 appearances in the league, starting just once and contributing a solitary goal.

Injuries and the superb form of fellow forwards Jesse Lingard, and Jarrod Bowen did not help the Ukrainian's cause. With one year left on his contract at West Ham, an impressive Euro campaign has got plenty of clubs pondering a move.

#1 Patrik Schick (Czech Republic)

Netherlands v Czech Republic - UEFA Euro 2020: Round of 16
Netherlands v Czech Republic - UEFA Euro 2020: Round of 16

Patrik Schick's 2017 move to Roma at the age of 21 should have put him on the world stage.

Coming on the back of a season that saw him become Sampdoria's joint top-scorer with Luis Muriel, Roma was hoping for an improvement on his 11 league goals.

But alas, by Euro 2020, Schick had moved on two more times, first to RB Leipzig, then to Bayer 04 Leverkusen, and had never beaten his league tally at Sampdoria.

In his time in the Bundesliga, Schick hasn't underperformed with 0.69 goals per game with the Red Bull side and 0.43 at Leverkusen this season, which was better than Aubameyang and G Jesus. But he has flown under the radar and become somewhat forgotten.

But after the tournament, Schick has now written himself into European Championship folklore, scoring five goals in as many matches as his entire league tally with Roma.

He scored a 50-yard screamer against Scotland, the longest distance for a goal in the Euros. Unlucky not to receive the Golden Boot after being tied with Cristiano Ronaldo, it can be assured that Schick won't be under the radar anymore.

Edited by Arjun Panchadar
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