Euro 2016: Greatest Portugal XI of all time
While Portugal have long been one of the major sides in the annals of footballing history, their dismal record (historically) in the European Championships means that quite a few of the players in this lineup are still active. Indeed, Portugal made their first Euros appearance in 1984, having not qualified for the previous six tournaments, although they made it to the semi-finals in their debut appearance, culminating in an exit to France in one of the greatest ever Euro games.
Since 1996, Portugal have been ever-present, making it to the quarterfinals at the very least, coming closest to the trophy in a shock defeat to Greece in the Euro 2004 final. Despite only having made six appearances in the Euros, Portugal have been one of the more memorable sides in the tournament.
Here are 11 footballers that make up the best of Portugal’s Euro squads:
It’s a bit of tiny revenge for Vitor Baia that he is considered the better keeper to Ricardo now. The former FC Porto and Barcelona shot-stopper ended the 2003/04 season on a high, winning the UEFA Champions League and being voted the best goalkeeper, but was shockingly left out, with Ricardo taking his place in the Euro 2004 squad.
However, Baia had been ever present in Portuguese squads prior to the Euro 2004 snub, playing almost all games in Euro 1996 and Euro 2000, even stopping Turkish striker Arif Erdem’s penalty to enable Portugal to reach the semifinals in the 2000 edition.
Baia ended up making 80 appearances for Portugal, with his longevity being a primary reason for his 27 trophies with FC Porto, but the fact that he was voted into the ‘all-time XI’ of the Portugal Football Federation’s centenary celebrations say it all.