Top 10 goal scorers of the European Championship

cristiano ronaldo zlatan ibrahimovic

There’s no better time to take a look at the top scorers of the European Championship with UEFA Euro 2016 in sight. The list of the top ten scorers is a who's who of the best in European football. While most have retired, there are still a few on the list who can better their record and change the top ten for some time to come.

Veterans of the sport are likely to be displaced with newer names going down in history this time around.

(The rankings are according to total number of goals scored but where the goals scored are the same, the player’s goal scoring average has been taken into consideration.)

The countdown begins with Wayne Rooney at no. 10 with five goals. A few huge names with the same number of goals miss out due to goal average but definitely deserve mention.

Milan Baros from the Czech Republic, Marco van Basten from The Netherlands, France’s Zinedine Zidane and Spain’s Fernando Torres have all found the net five times in the course of their career at the European Championship for their country. Baros, van Basten and Torres went on to win the Golden Boot in 1988, 2004 and 2012 respectively.

So without much ado, here’s a countdown to the top scorer of the European Championship:

10: Wayne Rooney

wayne rooney

Goals scored – 5

Matches played – 6

Goal average – 0.83

The beginning of Wayne Rooney’s campaign for England at Euro 2004 was well worth remembering. In his very first match of the tournament he became the youngest player to score after netting two goals against Switzerland in the group stages.

Even though he suffered an injury in their quarter final match against Portugal and eventually lost, his four goals in four games earned him a spot in the UEFA Team of the Tournament.

Euro 2012 was an entirely forgettable experience for Rooney. After spending most of the group stages serving out a two game ban, he managed just one goal and an early elimination. However, unlike many on this list, Rooney is an active player and the captain of the England team.

He will surely be looking for an opportunity to get some more goals on his record and improve his 10th place ranking.

9: Savo Miloševic

savo milosevic

Goals scored – 5

Matches played – 4

Goal average – 1.25

The name of Savo Miloševi is perhaps the most surprising for most going through this list mainly because he earned his place here after playing just one European Championship in 2000. A striker for Serbia, he made his name in his home country at Partizan. He spent the major bulk of his career playing for clubs all across Europe.

His impressive five-goal tally in Euro 2000 earned him that year’s Golden Boot along with Netherland’s Patrick Kluivert.

8: Nuno Gomes

nuno gomes

Goals scored – 6

Matches played – 14

Goal average – 0.43

Before Cristiano Ronaldo became the main man, so to speak, for Portugal, many of us will remember Nuno Gomes being that man some years ago. Gomes scored his first senior international goal at the European Championship in 2000.

It also happened to be the winner in their match against England which finished 3-2 in their favour. He scored in their semi-final defeat against France and ended the tournament with four goals. He was part of the Team of the Tournament that year.

Euro 2004 was not a personal success for Gomes. He scored just one goal – the winner against Spain that helped them progress to the quarter-final stage. Not surprisingly, he was made captain of the side ahead of Euro 2008. His goal against Germany in the quarter-finals made him the fourth player to score in three consecutive European Championships.

7: Cristiano Ronaldo

cristiano ronaldo

Goals scored – 6

Matches played – 14

Goal average – 0.43

Luckily for Cristiano Ronaldo the European Championship is one place where he is not hounded by the living spectre of Lionel Messi. The captain and very much the marquee player for Portugal, Ronaldo is sure to score some screamers and set new records in this edition of the Euro. Many are touting this as his tournament to shine irrespective of how his country fares.

Ronaldo’s Euro 2004 campaign was a good one with two goals and two assists and a spot in the Team of the Tournament. He was bestowed with the no. 7 jersey before Euro 2008 but failed to live up to the expectations after scoring just one goal in the tournament.

While Euro 2012 was forgettable for his country, Ronaldo still managed to make it to the Team of the Tournament with three goals.

6: Thierry Henry

thierry henry

Goals scored –6

Matches played – 11

Goal average – 0.55

Even the most casual football fan could hazard the guess that the great Thierry Henry would be a part of this list. In his very first European Championship in 2000, Henry scored three goals and went on to become champions with his team.

He went on to score another 2 goals in Euro 2004 but that wasn’t good enough to take his team past the quarterfinal stage. In his last Championship in 2008, he netted just one goal for his team and they were unable to reach the knockout rounds.

5: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

zlatan ibrahimovic

Goals scored – 6

Matches played – 10

Goal average – 0.60

Zlatan started scoring goals in his very first Euro in 2004. He scored two in all, one of which was an amazing last minute equalizer against Italy. Zlatan opened his goal scoring at the European Championship in 2008 in a most spectacular fashion. Does he know any other way?

After an international goal drought that lasted for a little over two years, Zlatan scored in their very first match of the tournament against Greece and then another one in their next group match against Spain. However, his team was eliminated in the group stages itself that year.

Ibrahimovic came back as captain of Sweden for Euro 2012 after changing his mind about retiring from the national squad. He exited the tournament having scored another 2 goals. The current edition of the Euro will be his fourth and another shot at improving on his current haul of six goals.

4: Patrick Kluivert

patrick kluivert

Goals scored – 6

Matches played – 9

Goal average – 0.67

Patrick Kuivert, one of the greats of European football is number four on this list with one very memorable Championship under his belt. Despite his steady rise to fame for the Dutch national side, he missed out on a major part of Euro 1996 because of an injury and scored just one goal when he was given the chance to play in a match against England.

Euro 2000 was really the jewel in Kluivert’s proverbial crown. He scored five goals in five matches and was the joint winner of the Golden Boot that year with Savo Milosevic. His finest hour came when he scored a hat-trick against Yugoslavia in the quarter-final.

Although he continued to wear the no. 9 shirt in Euro 2004, he was unable to net the ball even once.

3: Ruud van Nistelrooy

ruud van nisterlooy

Goals scored – 6

Matches played – 8

Goal average – 0.75

Another Dutch international on the list, Ruud van Nistelrooy was unable to make his Euro debut for the national side until Euro 2004 because of a ligament injury during the previous edition. He made his mark in 2004 with four goals for his side. Having made it to the semi-finals that year, this was The Netherlands’ best finish in the tournament.

In 2008, they crashed out after a loss against Russia in the quarter-final after losing 1-3 to them after extra time. This time around, Nistelrooy managed to score a couple of goals thereby earning him a place on this list.

2: Alan Shearer

alan shearer

Goals scored – 7

Matches played – 9

Goal average – 0.78

Alan Shearer’s very first Euro in 1996 was in front of home fans and boy did he give them a tournament to remember. Even though he went into the tournament with a poor scoring record, it made no difference to what actually happened. He was in scintillating form for his country and if it were only up to him, they might even have won. He could do no wrong.

Shearer ended the tournament on a high even though England lost their semi-final match against Germany. Having scored five goals, he was the winner of the Golden Boot and had a place of honour in the Team of the Tournament.

Euro 2000 was a nightmare for England as they couldn’t even make it past the group stages. Even though Shearer did his part for the team by netting two goals, he had to bring his international career to an end on a sad note.

1: Michel Platini

michel platini

Goals scored – 9

Matches played – 5

Goal average – 1.80

Michel Platini may be out of favour with the football world now but the mark he left on Euro 1984 cannot be ignored. He deserves first place on the list not only for leading his country to victory but because of the personal triumph that it also was.

He bagged 9 out of the 14 goals scored by France in the tournament. His frequent goal scoring was also a great way for the captain to lead his team.

He scored when it was most crucial - the winner in their first match of the group stage, a hat-trick against Belgium and was instrumental in their goals in the semi-final and final. Surely no other single player has had such a monumental impact on their national side’s campaign during the course of one tournament.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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