It has been a long time coming, but Euro 2020 (in 2021!) is finally on the horizon.
And though it promises to be a competition unlike any fans have seen before, with games being spread across the continent and restrictions on the numbers of supporters at the majority of stadiums, the football should still be of the highest quality.
With that in mind, who will be the best players on show over the course of the next few weeks?
Goal has put together the 100 players you should be keeping an eye out for, with the top 20 set to be revealed on Friday, June 11 ahead of the big kick-off later that day…
100. Kingsley Coman | France
One of Bayern Munich’s unsung heroes, Coman is coming off a Bundesliga campaign in which he laid on 12 assists, as well as scoring eight goals for the Bundesliga champions.
His most famous goal, though, remains his headed winner in the 2020 Champions League final as he and Bayern took down his former club, Paris Saint-Germain.
This summer he will form part of Didier Deschamps’ feared forward line as the world champions aim to become European champions too.
99. Leonardo Bonucci | Italy
Juventus stalwart Bonucci is a stereotypical old-fashioned centre-back. Not afraid to but his body on the line in aid of his team, the 34-year-old has spent nine of the last 10 years with Juve and has been a key foundation stone to their success over that time.
The veteran knows every trick in the book and will make the lives of centre forwards a nightmare.
98. Teemu Pukki | Finland
Pukki is a well-travelled striker who has played at the top level in Spain, Germany, Scotland and Denmark, as well as his homeland.
Norwich, though, has been his home since 2018, and it was with the Canaries he shot to prominence thanks to a blistering run in the 2019-20 Premier League season.
Although Daniel Farke’s side were relegated, Pukki has fired them back to the big time with another prolific campaign ahead of his country’s first appearance at a major tournament.
97. Goran Pandev | North Macedonia
At nearly 38 years old, North Macedonia star Pandev is one of the oldest players on show at Euro 2020. Indeed, he made his professional debut with Belasica in 2000 before some of his rivals were even born!
And yet the ex-Inter forward continues to operate at the top level of the game with Genoa after a decade and a half at the highest level, with his goal against Georgia in November having secured his country’s place at their first-ever major tournament.
96. Artem Dzyuba | Russia
There is little subtlety when it comes to the talents of Dzuyba, who stands at 6′ 6″ and, for opponents trying to mark him, must feel like he has the strength of a bull.
Certainly, the Zenit striker’s physical characteristics make him a unique challenge for centre-backs in this era of mobile forwards, and Russia will seek to use his raw power to their advantage.
95. Milan Skriniar | Slovakia
Inter centre-back Skriniar arrives at the European Championship as one of Serie A’s foremost defensive talents, having helped his club to their first Scudetto in 11 years.
Unlikely to beat many forwards in a foot race, Skriniar’s strengths are in his reading of the game, making him ideal in tactical duels.
He recently scored his first international goals in back-to-back matches against Malta and Russia in March.
94. Marcos Llorente | Spain
Llorente has been one of the driving forces behind Atletico Madrid’s outstanding campaign, hitting double figures in terms of both goals and assists over the course of the La Liga season.
Numerous top clubs have been linked with the versatile midfielder, who has operated primarily as a No.10 for Atleti but can also play slightly deeper or on the right-hand side.
93. Giorgio Chiellini | Italy
Although Chiellini has had a stop-start season with Juventus, he is still set to play a key role for Italy at Euro 2020.
The 36-year-old made his international debut back in 2004 and has played more than 100 times for the national team.
A wily and aggressive centre-back, there will be no forwards who relish coming up against the veteran ball winner.
92. Ruslan Malinovskiy | Ukraine
A relative late bloomer in footballing terms, 28-year-old Malinovskiy has only been playing Serie A football for a couple of years, having previously been with Genk in Belgium.
It has not taken him long to make a positive impression in Atalanta’s exciting side, though.
He is noted for his work ethic and defensive qualities in the heart of the midfield, but also his fierce left foot when given the chance to shoot.
91. Tomas Soucek | Czech Republic
Since moving to West Ham from Slavia Prague in 2020, Soucek has seen his reputation explode.
The 26-year-old is capable both going forward and defensively, while he brings a unique threat from crosses and set-pieces because of his tall frame.
This threat has won him positive comparisons with Marouane Fellaini, another central midfielder that David Moyes used to good effect during his time at Everton.
90. Peter Gulacsi | Hungary
As a teenager, Gulacsi spent time on loan at lowly Hereford United, but his career turned a corner when he moved from obscurity at Liverpool to Red Bull Salzburg in 2015.
Since then, he has graduated to RB Leipzig, where he has featured on more than 200 occasions.
He is regularly named among the outstanding goalkeepers in the Bundesliga.
89. Rodri | Spain
Manchester City midfielder Rodri is a player with it all.
He is primarily a defensive player, but as one would expect from a regular in a Pep Guardiola side, he is also highly accomplished with the ball at his feet.
Guardiola once said: “The best holding midfielders never appear in newspapers, they hide behind the team.” And that is exactly what the understated but highly reliable Rodri does for both club and country.
88. Ivan Perisic | Croatia
Perisic has already done it before on the big international stage.
During the 2018 World Cup, the Inter winger was a key player as Croatia finished runners-up, notably grabbing a late winner against Iceland, producing a decisive semi-final display against England, in which he scored and gained an assist, and scoring in the final.
The 32-year-old has a decade of top-level experience in Germany and Italy to call upon too.
87. David de Gea | Spain
Manchester United goalkeeper De Gea has been a divisive figure at club level over the course of last few campaigns, but he will go into Euro 2020 with the hope of rebuilding his reputation.
There are few better goalkeepers when the former Atletico Madrid custodian is on form, and this is his opportunity, if selected to start by Luis Enrique, to put a forgettable performance at the 2018 World Cup firmly behind him.
86. Burak Yilmaz | Turkey
Now 35, Yilmaz has been making a living scoring goals for nearly two decades – and he appears to be still getting better at it!
Having moved to France with Lille last summer, he slotted in seamlessly to a side that completely outperformed expectations to win Ligue 1, both scoring and creating goals.
That form has translated to the international scene, where he netted a hat-trick against the Netherlands in March.
85. Alexander Isak | Sweden
Sweden’s youngest-ever goalscorer, Isak has four years of international experience behind him despite still being only 21.
For years the Swedes have been seeking a successor to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and their hopes are currently pinned on Isak.
Standing well over six feet tall, the Real Sociedad star is an imposing target man and has a keen eye for goal.
84. Manuel Locatelli | Italy
Sassuolo have quietly established themselves as a formidable force in Serie A in recent years, and one of the men underpinning their success has been midfielder Locatelli.
Blending intelligence and technical ability, he is being linked to a host of top European clubs, including Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.
His asking price of around €40 million (£34.5m/$49m) is evidence of how highly Sassuolo rate him.
83. Jude Bellingham | England
Eyebrows were raised last summer when Bellingham elected to move to Borussia Dortmund from Birmingham City, but the teenager’s decision has been fully justified having only enhanced his reputation in the Bundesliga.
The midfielder has been exposed to elite football both domestically and in Europe, and has not missed a beat.
For the multitalented 17-year-old, the sky appears to be the limit.
82. Harry Maguire | England
Some may have scoffed when Manchester United made Harry Maguire the most expensive defender of all-time in the summer of 2019, but his performances over the last two seasons have shown he is worthy of being talked about among Europe’s best.
An almost ever-present for the Red Devils, his absence was keenly felt during the final weeks of the campaign, and most notably in the Europa League final, after he picked up an ankle injury in early May.
As such, Gareth Southgate must hope his defensive leader is back to full fitness by the time the Three Lions play their opening fixture.
81. Marcel Sabitzer | Austria
A veteran of seven seasons with RB Leipzig, Sabitzer is a name well known in Bundesliga circles.
For his club side, he wears the No.7 shirt, and that is fitting as he has been compared to a certain David Beckham in the past.
Sabitzer, after all, is perhaps best known for his wicked set-piece delivery and long-range shooting. That should not, however, undermine the work he does for his side defensively.
80. Alvaro Morata | Spain
Morata is a well-rounded striker, capable of scoring many different types of goals, and is coming off a 20-goal campaign for Juventus.
He loves to play off the shoulder of the last defender, and while this makes him prone to wandering offside, it also means he is very dangerous.
Equally, though, he can link up play or feature in a wider area, making him a versatile part of Spain’s armoury at Euro 2020.
79. Jordan Henderson | England
Liverpool captain Henderson has developed into one of the Premier League’s most consistent midfielders since moving to Anfield in 2011.
While he may not perform much flashy work, his industry and intelligence is appreciated by his team-mates immensely.
A two-time England Player of the Year, he was also named as the Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year for the 2019-20 season, and should be fit for the Three Lions this summer after missing the closing weeks of the season through injury.
78. Aaron Ramsey | Wales
Juventus midfielder Ramsey is set to be remembered as one of Wales’ greatest ever players – and at 30, he still has much more to give.
He has spent the bulk of his career with Arsenal, where he became noted for his offensive prowess in the centre of the midfield.
And while his driving runs forward may be the most eye-catching aspect of his play, his passing is crisp and his attitude is exemplary.
77. Caglar Soyuncu | Turkey
Jamie Vardy, James Maddison and Kelechi Iheanacho have often grabbed the headlines for Leicester City in another remarkable season, but Soyuncu was a vital component in the heart of the defence as the Foxes won the FA Cup and came within touching distance of qualifying against the odds for the Champions League
The 25-year-old is regarded as a perfect modern defender: quick, agile, good in the air and strong in possession.
He idolises former Barcelona defender Carles Puyol, and it shows in his play.
76. Declan Rice | England
Having turned out for Ireland in three friendly matches, Rice has switched allegiance to England and is one of the Three Lions’ big hopes ahead of the summer.
At just 22, the West Ham academy graduate is already seen as one of the Premier League’s best defensive midfielders, which in turn has seen the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea linked with signing him.
His reputation is only set to grow at Euro 2020.
75. Kasper Schmeichel | Denmark
Denmark have quietly amassed a formidable record at international level in recent years, with Schmeichel laying the foundation of that success in goal.
In his game there are echoes of the style shown by his father, legendary Manchester United and Euro ’92-winning goalkeeper Peter.
An imposing shot-stopper, the Leicester City star is one of the most reliable in his position around Europe and is now aiming to emulate his dad by winning the European Championship.
74. Xherdan Shaqiri | Switzerland
Although Shaqiri may be a peripheral figure at Liverpool, with Switzerland, he is one of their undoubted aces.
This was only underlined at Euro 2016, when he scored a memorable overhead kick from the edge of the box against Poland in the last 16.
Quick, technical and physically strong, he loves to play on the right wing and cut in on his stronger left foot, a tendency that has led him to be branded the ‘Alpine Messi’.
73. Ferran Torres | Spain
Manchester City’s signing of Torres from Valencia in the summer of 2020 may prove to be one of the smartest pieces of business Pep Guardiola has done.
The 21-year-old was signed by the Premier League champions as a winger, but has proven himself to be very capable in a centre-forward role, where his long-term future perhaps lies.
Certainly, it has given Spain boss Luis Enrique an additional option for the youngster, who already possesses a fine scoring rate for the national team having netted a hat-trick against Germany in November.
72. Lucas Hernandez | France
Modern-day full-backs are supposed to be thrilling and dynamic offensive players, yet Bayern Munich’s Lucas Hernandez is a player who puts more of an emphasis on his defensive work.
This attitude, however, is one that suits France head coach Didier Deschamps perfectly, as he prefers a pragmatic team to a thrilling one.
The 25-year-old left-back also offers additional versatility because he is capable of playing in central defence.
71. Pepe | Portugal
Love him or hate him, you cannot help but be impressed by the drive to win of veteran Porto centre-back Pepe.
Now 38, he remains a key figure in Portugal’s plans to defend the title that they won in France five years ago.
His aggression and tenacity make him standout, while his hard-tackling style means that he is something of a throwback to a bygone era.
70. Kieran Tierney | Scotland
Arsenal fans may have been surprised by the impact that Tierney has had in his first two seasons in the Premier League, but his success was expected in Scotland, where he had starred previously for Celtic.
With the national team, he faces a duel with Andy Robertson for his preferred spot on the left side of defence, and is likely to be used as a centre-back in a five-man backline.
69. Dejan Kulusevski | Sweden
There is great excitement in Sweden about the future of 21-year-old Kulusevski, who plays his club football at Juventus.
Standing at over six feet tall, he does not possess the stature of a traditional attacking midfielder – nor Eden Hazard or Kevin De Bruyne, the players he seeks to emulate – but that has not stopped him from developing in a promising fashion.
Extremely versatile, he possesses deft touches around the box that readily open up defences.
68. Hugo Lloris | France
Only Lilian Thuram has won more caps for France than Tottenham goalkeeper Lloris, who captained the national team to World Cup glory at Russia 2018.
He is not tall for a modern goalkeeper, but more than makes up for that with his incredible reflexes, impressive agility, excellent instincts in one-on-one situations and his leadership.
He regularly ranks among the Premier League’s best goalkeepers in terms of save percentage.
67. Oleksandr Zinchenko | Ukraine
Aged 17, Zinchenko was forced to flee Ukraine due to the outbreak of war, forcing him to train alone on the streets of Moscow before signing for Ufa and, subsequently, Manchester City.
His road to the top has been long and difficult, but he became a vital part of Pep Guardiola’s title-winning side this season – and one of the most underrated figures too.
He has long been a regular for Ukraine, where he will occupy a more attacking role than his usual left-back position at club level.
66. Granit Xhaka | Switzerland
In what has been a difficult campaign for Arsenal, Xhaka has been one of their sources of positivity.
Having seemed on his way out of the club 18 months ago, the midfielder has battled back to become an integral member of Mikel Arteta’s team, even featuring as a makeshift left-back for periods.
He is even more important for Switzerland, for whom he is a rock in the centre of the park.
65. Pedri | Spain
Pedri might not have come through Barcelona’s famous La Masia youth academy, but everything about the attacking midfielder that the Blaugrana signed from Las Palmas in 2020 suggests that he should have.
Indeed, little was expected of the 18-year-old when he arrived in July, yet less than a year on he is featuring regularly for the first team and is regarded as a hugely exciting talent, earning comparisons to Andres Iniesta in style.
64. Merih Demiral | Turkey
Demiral became the first Turkish player to wear the black and white stripes of Juventus when he signed for the club in 2019, and since then he has only done himself proud.
In what has been one of Europe’s best defensive units of the last five years, the 23-year-old has rapidly established himself as a starter, although various injury issues have plagued him over the last season.
63. Axel Witsel | Belgium
While Witsel heads into the Euros lacking match fitness having been out of action since January with an Achilles tendon rupture, the Borussia Dortmund midifielder will still likely have a key role to play for Belgium.
The most defensively-minded of their preferred midfielders, his ability to win possession and, more often than not, play the right pass is among the best in Europe.
Like a number of his team-mates, Witsel has now entered his early 30s, and as such time is running out for him and the Red Devils’ ‘Golden Generation’ to secure a major trophy.
62. Alessandro Bastoni | Italy
A product of the Atalanta youth system, Bastoni has announced himself as one of Europe’s top young defenders over the course of an impressive breakout campaign at Inter.
The 22-year-old has thrived on the left-hand side of Antonio Conte’s back three, with his comfort in possession and passing ability, as well as his physical prowess, marking him out as a perfect modern centre-back.
Despite having only made his international debut in November, he is expected to start for Roberto Mancini’s side during the tournament.
61. Olivier Giroud | France
Giroud’s international career threatens to be remembered for being the centre forward who failed to score a goal as France won the 2018 World Cup.
Yet Didier Deschamps’ insistence on picking him before, during and after that competition shows that his game is about so much more than finding the net. He is a vital link figure for Les Bleus and does unheralded defensive work, too.
He kicks-off the tournament only a handful of goals short of Thierry Henry’s scoring record for France.
60. Fabian Ruiz | Spain
Fabian Ruiz is the ultimate Swiss army knife in Spain’s squad.
The Napoli midfielder can play in a range of positions across the midfield, and also in a wide variety of formations.
Like much of La Roja’s roster, he is noted for his technical ability, vision and passing, though he has yet to really impose himself on the international team.
That said, his ability to fill different roles will make hm a valuable asset in tournament play.
59. Diogo Jota | Portugal
Coming off of the back of a prolific campaign with Liverpool, Jota will hope to carry that form into Euro 2020 with Portugal.
He might not have expected the success he has achieved in such a short time at Anfield, during which the 24-year-old has legitimately made himself an alternative to Roberto Firmino at centre-forward.
That has been mirrored by strong international form over the course of the last year, giving the defending champions yet another potent attacking weapon.
58. Youri Tielemans | Belgium
It has been an impressive campaign for Youri Tielemans at Leicester, capped by his recent winning goal in the FA Cup final – a searing shot into the top corner from 25 yards out.
The former Anderlecht youngster is a central midfield player who can do it all, although it is mostly for his poise on the ball and crafty passing that he is noted.
57. Lorenzo Insigne | Italy
Like many modern wingers, Insigne prefers to play in a role on the left that allows him to cut inside and offer a direct threat to goal.
Indeed, he is coming off the back of a prolific campaign in Serie A for Napoli, which may well be the best personally of his career.
He has yet to replicate such form with Italy, but given his displays domestically, Roberto Mancini will be hard pressed to ignore him.
56. Ousmane Dembele | France
Having joined Barcelona for €105 million (£93m/$119m) from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, Dembele is one of the most expensive players in the history of the game.
A frustrating string of injury problems have prevented him expressing his full potential at Camp Nou, but the 24-year-old still has time on his side.
He is remarkably two-footed, is a clever dribbler and possesses an excellent shot.
55. Dries Mertens | Belgium
At 34, Mertens is set to be one of the elder statesmen of the Belgium side that travels to Euro 2020.
The Napoli attacker has performed to a consistently high standard for years, netting at least 10 goals in all competitions in each of the last 11 campaigns.
Intelligent off the ball, he is as much a creative player as he is a goalscorer.
54. Kai Havertz | Germany
The world’s most expensive player in 2020, Havertz still has much to prove after a difficult first season at Chelsea.
Nevertheless, the playmaker retains the confidence of Germany head coach Joachim Low, while in his homeland there remain hopes that he will express himself to the brilliant level he managed breaking through at Bayer Leverkusen.
He looked up to Mesut Ozil growing up, but is more physical and stronger in the air than his compatriot.
53. Mateo Kovacic | Croatia
A member of the Croatia side that reached the 2018 World Cup final, Kovacic is a player who will go about his job linking the defence and midfield with minimal fuss.
Nevertheless, he actually started his career in a far more advanced role at Dinamo Zagreb and Inter, before a switch to Real Madrid never really worked out.
At 27, the Chelsea star is now in his peak years.
52. Georginio Wijnaldum | Netherlands
Given Liverpool’s glittering array of stars, the contribution that Wijnaldum made to their side in recent years sometimes went unnoticed.
Indeed, supporters may only realise his importance to the team when the Reds line-up without him next season, with the 30-year-old set to leave Anfield on a free transfer this summer.
Lacking any one outstanding attribute, Wijnaldum seems to do everything solidly and plays a key role knitting the team together. He is, meanwhile, known for his excellent temperament.
51. Jack Grealish | England
For many, Grealish is regarded as the most exciting player to come out of England since Paul Gascoigne.
His ability to manipulate the ball is thrilling, allowing him to breeze by defenders, while he also has an eye for the spectacular.
Strutting around the field with his socks rolled down to his ankles, he can look like an anachronism, but there is no questioning his quality.
He did, however, recently miss three months due to injury.
50. Leroy Sane | Germany
Back in his homeland with Bayern Munich after a spell at Manchester City, winger Sane is known for his inconsistent level.
When he gets it right, though, the 25-year-old can be a devilishly difficult player to defend against.
On song, he is one of the best dribblers in the world, with an outstanding body feint, and has the capacity to create chances from virtually nothing.
49. Federico Chiesa | Italy
Chiesa heads into the tournament in superb form, though fans outside of Italy may not be aware of quite what an impact he has made during his first season at Juventus.
The 23-year-old finished the 2020-21 campaign with 15 goals and 11 assists in all competitions while showing an aptitude for contributing in big games having scored against both Inter and AC Milan, as well as netting the winning goal in the Coppa Italia final.
He also scored three goals across the two legs of Juve’s doomed Champions League last-16 tie against Porto, meaning he is likely to be given a key role playing off the left-hand side by Roberto Mancini.
48. Joao Felix | Portugal
Joao Felix was given the huge task of replacing Antoine Girezmann when he moved to Atletico Madrid from Benfica in 2019, and despite some struggles has shown signs he is capable of doing so.
Though he is capable of playing across the attacking line, his preferred role is that of an attacking midfielder, although he often features for Atleti on the right.
For such a young player, he has the formidable instinct of being in the right place at the right time.
47. Leon Goretzka | Germany
Muscular central midfielder Goretzka will be one of the players expected to underpin Germany’s challenge for the Euro 2020 title.
The Bayern Munich star may primarily be a defensively-minded player, but he also possesses an excellent goal threat due to his aerial prowess from set pieces and long-range shooting ability.
Joachim Low has utilised his talent especially well in recent years.
46. Sergio Busquets | Spain
One of just a handful of active players still active who was a member of the glorious Spain side that last tasted European Championship glory in 2012, Busquets will be remembered as one of the game’s great defensive midfielders.
Never blessed with pace, his strength and longevity lies in his game intelligence, which allows him to defend the correct areas.
Of course, as a member of Spain and Barcelona’s golden era, he is also technically accomplished and Luis Enrique will be desperately hoping that his captain will recover from Covid-19 in time to play a major role in the Euros.
45. Memphis Depay | Netherlands
Having raced to be fit for the competition last season after suffering a serious knee injury while playing with Lyon, the postponement of the tournament has allowed Memphis to get back to his best.
The ex-Manchester United man, who plays off the left or in the centre of the attack, is used to playing a starring role.
After reaching double figures in goals and assists in 2020-21, he is also one of the most eligible free agents around Europe this summer after running down his contract in France.
44. Timo Werner | Germany
It has been a difficult first season for Werner in the Premier League with Chelsea, during which he has been forced to face criticism of his finishing.
However, he has remained an important figure for Thomas Tuchel’s side due to his ability to create chances for others when leading the line.
He therefore goes to Euro 2020 with a point to prove.
43. Jordi Alba | Spain
Alba may have turned 32 in March, but the left-sided player is showing no signs of letting up.
Throughout his career he has been noted for his tirelessness as an attacking full-back, winning armfuls of trophies with Barcelona and Spain.
In recent months has been used by Barca to cover the whole of the left flank as a wing-back, showcasing his athleticism and stamina.
42. Ciro Immobile | Italy
One of Europe’s most prolific strikers in recent seasons, Immobile’s peak arrived in 2019-20, when he won the European Golden Shoe after scoring 36 times for Lazio.
Indeed, he has now surpassed 150 goals for the Roman club in just five seasons.
His movement is excellent and his finishing is at an elite level. His scoring record for Italy, though, is modest.
41. Joao Cancelo | Portugal
While Cancelo has long been regarded as one of the most promising full-backs in Europe, it has only been since a move to Juventus in 2018 that he has truly risen to prominence.
A year on, he was snapped up by Manchester City, and Pep Guardiola has used him in a myriad of positions due to his technical qualities.
Over the course of the last year, he has also become increasingly important for Portugal.
40. Mason Mount | England
Another of England’s young breakout stars over the past couple of years, Mount has excelled at Chelsea having been given his opportunity in the first team under Frank Lampard.
Where some of his fellow academy graduates have fallen by the wayside under Thomas Tuchel, Mount’s high standards remain, sending his stock even higher.
The 22-year-old boasts formidable attacking attributes from the centre of the field.
39. Gianluigi Donnarumma | Italy
Considered to be the best young goalkeeper in the world, Donnarumma faces the biggest summer of his career as he is poised to play a major role for Italy at Euro 2020, while in the background he is set to be on the move after his contract at AC Milan expired.
Donnarumma’s imposing stature is matched by his maturity and his leadership, while his greatest strengths are his shot stopping, his decision making and the speed he comes from his line.
38. Hakan Calhanoglu | Turkey
German-born but of Turkish descent, it is perhaps natural that Calhanoglu would be compared with Mesut Ozil.
And there are parallels to be drawn, as both rely heavily on the technical side of their game as opposed to their physique.
The standout characteristic of AC Milan star Calhanoglu, however, is his outstanding ability over set-pieces, with the 27-year-old especially well-known for his outstanding free-kicks.
37. Gareth Bale | Wales
Bale’s stock may have tumbled over the past couple of years, but there is no doubting the ability of the Real Madrid star – who has spent the last season on loan at Tottenham – to thrive on the big stage.
Indeed, his overhead kick in the 2018 Champions League final against Liverpool is regarded as one of the game’s greatest goals.
Started life as a left-back before moving to the wing and now often features on the right for both club and country.
36. Andrew Robertson | Scotland
Scotland’s most successful club player for a decade, Robertson has been a mainstay of Jurgen Klopp’s brilliant Liverpool side, in which he dominates the left flank with his boundless energy.
Though he is the Scotland captain, his performances for the national team have received criticism as he is not as influential in the dark blue as he is in the red.
35. Nicolo Barella | Italy
A member of the Inter side that ended Juventus’ domination of Serie A this season, Barella is a man of many talents.
His most important quality is his ability to press and win possession, but he is also apt at starting counterattacks and has it in his locker to dribble through defences and score spectacular volleys.
Mentally, the 24-year-old is also impressive, with a strong competitive spirit.
34. Bernardo Silva | Portugal
Overshadowed by the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden at Manchester City, it would be wrong to overlook the qualities that Bernardo Silva brings to what is perhaps currently the best club side in the world.
He may lack an intimidating build, but he is quick, agile, creative and graceful.
There are few players with a better left foot than his, either.
33. Raheem Sterling | England
For a period during the 2019-20 season, Sterling was among the best players in the world as he was unplayable at times down Manchester City’s left-hand side.
The past campaign has been more testing for the England star, but if he can find his top level, the Three Lions will have a potent weapon on their hands.
At his happiest when wide on the left, using his electric pace and close control to dazzle defenders.
32. Christian Eriksen | Denmark
Denmark’s outstanding player for a generation, Eriksen was at his peak when given the responsibility of playing the No.10 role with Tottenham.
Indeed, along with David Beckham, he is one of just two players to have 10 or more assists in four successive Premier League seasons.
Has since moved on to Inter, where he occupies a deeper role. With the Danes, though, he will be back in his favoured position.
31. Aymeric Laporte | Spain
Despite being one of the best performing centre-backs in world football over the past three seasons, international honours have deserted Laporte after repeatedly being snubbed by France.
That has led the Manchester City defender to switch allegiances to Spain ahead of Euro 2020, where he will fill the shoes of injured captain Sergio Ramos.
A good tackler and header of the ball, what makes Laporte stand out his long passing ability, with the 27-year-old having played a key role in springing attacks for City under Pep Guardiola.
30. Serge Gnabry | Germany
Ever since West Brom manager Tony Pulis infamously said Gnabry was “not at the level” to play Premier League football in 2015 while the winger was on loan at The Hawthorns from Arsenal, he has set about proving him wrong.
The 25-year-old can blow a little hot and cold for Bayern Munich, but with Germany he always seems to excel and has an incredible scoring record at international level.
29. Antoine Griezmann | France
The Bronze Ball winner at the 2018 World Cup, Griezmann was widely considered to be France’s most important player as they won the trophy in Russia.
A year later, he moved from Atletico Madrid to Barcelona, but has struggled to retain that high level of form.
Nevertheless, the attacker remains a trusted general of Didier Deschamps’ side, not least because of his set-piece quality, which was so important to their success three years ago.
28. Manuel Neuer | Germany
When Neuer retires, he is likely to be remembered as the greatest goalkeeper of his generation.
He is known for his fearless approach to coming out of his box, as well as the manner in which he makes himself look impassable in one-on-one situations.
His saves in the 2014 World Cup final were instrumental in Germany’s 1-0 win over Argentina, while the Euros is the only major trophy the 35-year-old has not won.
27. Ruben Dias | Portugal
When Dias traded Benfica for Manchester City last summer, even Pep Guardiola could not have imagined the profound impact that the Portugal defender has had on his team.
He has helped transform the rearguard of City, providing them with leadership and a certain maturity that they have lacked since Vincent Kompany retired.
Has arguably been the best defender in Europe this season.
26. Luka Modric | Croatia
The only man to have won the Ballon d’Or other than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi since 2008, Modric may be 35, but he possesses tremendous game intelligence and a deft touch that still makes him effective at the highest level.
He is noted for his ability to manipulate the game tactically by dictating its pace, and is frequently at the very start of many dangerous attacks for both club side Real Madrid and Croatia.
25. Ilkay Gundogan | Germany
Gundogan goes to Euro 2020 having enjoyed the best season of his career. Indeed, for a period in the middle of the campaign, he was the best player in the Premier League by some distance.
Offered a more attacking role with Manchester City, he has returned a career-high tally of goals.
A complete central midfielder, he has now given Joachim Low a greater headache in terms of his best role.
24. David Alaba | Austria
An era in Alaba’s career will end this summer when he departs Bayern Munich for Real Madrid after well over 400 senior appearances for the Bavarians.
Among the new challenges that he will face is that of leader of an unfancied Austria side at Euro 2020.
He is noted for his versatility around the defensive areas of the pitch, turning out regularly for Bayern at centre-back but featuring for his country as a left wing-back having previously played as an attacking midfielder at international level.
23. Marco Verratti | Italy
Nicknamed ‘Gufetto’, meaning owl in Italian, it seems at times that Verratti has eyes in the back of his head due to his rare ability to retain possession in tight areas and his apparently unerring ability to pick out team-mates.
A link between defence and midfield, the Paris Saint-Germain star is not the type of player to chalk up many assists or goals, but is important in terms of the flow of the game.
A fiery character who is prone to bookings.
22. Phil Foden | England
There has been a buzz around 21-year-old Foden for some time, and even frustration that Pep Guardiola has not been quicker to use the Manchester City youngster more frequently.
That has all changed this season, though, with Foden turning in a string of impressive displays in an attacking role for the Citizens that made him impossible to ignore.
Blessed with incredible technique, he is surely a player for the next decade – as well as now.
21. Matthijs de Ligt | Netherlands
De Ligt was one of the stars as Ajax unexpectedly made a run to the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019, with the centre-back notably captaining his side to victories over Real Madrid and Juventus.
Off the back of that run, he then made a big-money move to Juve, where after a slow start he has become one of Serie A’s standout defenders.
The 2018 Golden Boy winner is the complete modern centre-back, offering impressive physicality, strength in the air and surprising technique, earned during his time as an attacking midfielder at youth level.
20. Thibaut Courtois | Belgium
Courtois had a shaky start to life at Real Madrid, but has generally improved his fortunes at Santiago Bernabeu since a move from Chelsea in 2018, and Belgium will hope to reap the rewards of this in the summer.
Standing a 6’7″ tall, he is noted for his ability to command his box and also the manner in which he can spring counterattacks with his long throws.
19. Thomas Muller | Germany
Muller might have forgiven for believing his international career was over after Joachim Low revealed he would no longer be considering the attacking midfielder for selection following the 2018 World Cup debacle.
But after two assist-laden campaigns at Bayern Munich and with Low set to leave his role as Germany manager after Euro 2020, Muller has been recalled on the eve of the tournament.
The 31-year-old will likely slot straight back into the team’s forward line, giving them some much-needed creativity in the final third.
18. N’Golo Kante | France
Two thirds of the world’s surface is covered by water, the rest by N’Golo Kante, so goes the saying.
At times, it seems it is true as Kante has a capacity to apparently be everywhere at once.
While this is testimony to his outstanding fitness levels, it is also due to his supreme game intelligence. There is perhaps no better midfield ball winner in the world game.
17. Jadon Sancho | England
Following a long transfer saga linking him with Manchester United last summer, Sancho had a slow start to the 2020-21 season, but has been back to his brilliant best since January.
The 21-year-old winger, who gains much of his success playing off the left, is a thrilling dribbler, who excels in one-on-one duels with defenders and possesses incredible pace.
It is surely only a matter of time before he finds his best level for England after some inconsistent displays for the Three Lions.
16. Bruno Fernandes | Portugal
The impact that Fernandes has made since joining Manchester United in January 2020 has been simply profound, and he has seen his profile rise exponentially as a result.
The playmaker is 26, probably just coming into his prime, and is known for his high-risk style and desire to play killer passes through or over a defence.
He is prolific from the penalty spot and deadly over free-kicks. With Cristiano Ronaldo for a team-mate, though, he might not get chance to show off either skill at Euro 2020!
15. Eden Hazard | Belgium
Eden Hazard is a player who has long been tipped as a Ballon d’Or winner.
Certainly, Real Madrid thought so when they spent an initial €100 million (£88m/$112m) to sign him from Chelsea in 2019.
Injury issues, however, have plagued the attacker over the ensuing period, and he has rarely had an opportunity to show his best in the Spanish capital.
Nevertheless, he still has the potential to be decisive in any game.
14. Thiago Alcantara | Spain
Spain’s modern-day version of Xavi, Thiago is expected to receive the ball and make things happen from a deep area in the midfield.
With Bayern Munich, he would often post mind-boggling passing numbers, and while he has not quite managed to reach such a level yet with Liverpool, the 30-year-old showed signs towards the end of the season of hitting his peak.
13. Marcus Rashford | England
Rashford may only be 23, but he has already hit double figures for goals in three successive Premier League seasons for Manchester United.
He typically starts in wide areas, but is drawn into the centre of the park, where he does much of his damage with his quick and direct approach.
Off the pitch, he was named in the Time 100 Next list for his work in setting up End Child Food Poverty, which he did during lockdown in the UK.
12. Frenkie de Jong | Netherlands
The star of the Ajax side that made the 2019 Champions League semi-finals, De Jong’s career was sent on an upward trajectory thanks to his performances against elite opponents during that run.
It seemed fated that he would join Barcelona, given their history with Dutch players, and after a difficult start to the current season at Camp Nou, he has seen his performances improve since being given a more liberal midfield role by Ronald Koeman.
He has also filled in at centre-back at times, but expect him to be back in his favoured box-to-box role for the Oranje.
11. Raphael Varane | France
Varane may only be 28, but it seems that he has been around for a good deal longer, having joined Real Madrid in 2011.
He has long been established as a regular for both Los Blancos and the France national team, and he was a key figure in their success at the 2018 World Cup.
If there are any doubts over his game, these are typically in terms of his durability.
10. Paul Pogba | France
There are few players in the world game who divide opinion like Pogba.
At Manchester United, he is broadly seen in frustrating terms, having made a world-record move from Juventus in 2016.
His languid on-field style, inconsistent performances and large social media persona has not won favour with many Premier League pundits either.
With France, meanwhile, Pogba shows a different face. Typically given more freedom to play in a box-to-box role, with N’Golo Kante beside him, he can look a different player. Indeed, Les Bleus have never lost a match in which the pair have both started.
Having debuted in 2013, he is now one of France’s most experienced players and has a status in the squad to match. This seems to suit the 28-year-old.
9. Toni Kroos | Germany
An athletic midfielder, Kroos is a figure who has seen it all in the game.
He is not the most spectacular of players by any means, but that should not downplay the job he performs for Real Madrid and Germany, with his technical excellence in the centre of the field having allowed him to set the tempo for both teams.
He is comfortable with both feet, and because of his wide skillset of attributes can play a variety of roles in the centre of the pitch.
When he began his career, he was typically used in a more advanced position than he takes up presently. Kroos, however, remains just as effective as ever.
8. Karim Benzema | France
Perhaps the most surprising call-up of the whole tournament, Benzema had not represented France since 2015 before being recalled by Didier Deschamps at the end of May.
Despite having turned 33 in December, the Real Madrid striker has spent the past two seasons playing the best football of his career, with his form having become too much for his international coach to ignore.
Finally out of the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo in the Spanish capital, his goals fired Madrid to the Liga title in 2019-20, while he was again their star man as they reached the Champions League semi-finals this season.
His creativity in the final third is also one of his main attributes, and there is rarely a goal that Madrid score that does not go through their No.9 at some stage.
Benzema arrives at Euro 2020 with a point to prove, but he could barely be in better shape to ensure he plays a starring role.
7. Harry Kane | England
Kane did not feature prominently for Tottenham until he was 21, but the No.9 has made up for lost time impressively and is rightly recognised as one of the outstanding finishers in the game.
Indeed, he has struck at least 15 Premier League goals in seven successive seasons.
In 2020-21, he picked up his third Premier League Golden Boot as well as recording the most assists in the competition, despite playing a relatively defensive side for much of the campaign.
The England captain makes life difficult for defenders by being able to take the ball into his feet or by running in behind defences, while he is also very capable in the air.
Indeed, his all-round game has developed considerably since he broke onto the scene, and this has allowed him to attain an elite status.
6. Joshua Kimmich | Germany
While 26-year-old Kimmich may not win too many headlines, there is little doubt of his importance to the Bayern Munich side that dominated world football in 2020.
Remarkably, he is world class both in defence, where he operates as a right-back, or in midfield, where he occupies a more central position.
Indeed, there does not appear to be an obvious area of weakness in his game.
He has a great eye for timing a tackle, uses the ball well and has enviable game intelligence.
Kimmich has said in the past that he bases his game on Germany great Bastian Schweinsteiger, but there is an argument that he has surpassed even his level now.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo | Portugal
Quite simply one of the greatest players football has ever seen – many will argue the greatest – Cristiano Ronaldo has been a phenomenon since signing for Manchester United in 2003.
Initially criticised for wastefulness in his game, Ronaldo knuckled down and five years later he was picking up the first of five Ballons d’Or.
At Real Madrid he became the most prolific player at one of the game’s most storied clubs, netting at a rate of more than once every game.
Trophies have followed too – including five Champions Leagues and the Euro 2016 crown, in which he was Portugal’s offensive inspiration before being tragically forced out of the final with injury.
At 36, he is closing in on the all-time record for international goals in the men’s game, while he remains a perfect physical specimen and appears to have years left in his legs after finishing the season as Serie A’s top scorer.
4. Romelu Lukaku | Belgium
When Lukaku left Manchester United in 2019 after a disappointing spell at Old Trafford, he had a point to prove.
The 28-year-old, however, has set about doing that in immaculate style with Inter. Indeed, he has arguably enjoyed the finest seasons of his career in Italy.
The 2020-21 campaign has brought armfuls of goals and, most notably, the Serie A title. It is a crown Inter could not have won without ‘Big Rom’.
On the international scene, meanwhile, he has been equally priceless with Belgium, netting at a rate of well in excess of one goal every two games on his way to becoming the nation’s all-time top scorer.
His physical size and strength are eye catching, but his intelligence to find spaces is also formidable.
3. Robert Lewandowski | Poland
If the Covid-19 pandemic had not caused the cancellation of the 2020 Ballon d’Or, Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski would surely be a holder of that particular accolade, having been the standout player of the year.
During the 2019-20 season with his club, he scored an astonishing 55 goals in 47 matches – a figure that only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have managed in the modern day.
Although he finished the 2020-21 campaign with fewer goals overall, he surpassed Gerd Muller’s record of scoring 40 Bundesliga goals in a single season, doing so in just 29 matches.
In an era when pure No.9s are not commonplace, Lewandowski has shown that such players can still thrive.
Now 32, he is – if anything – getting better with age.
2. Kevin De Bruyne | Belgium
Is there a greater passer of the ball presently than De Bruyne? Probably not.
The 29-year-old Belgium star has developed into one of the best players in the game since moving to Manchester City from Wolfsburg in 2015.
Previously, he had tried his luck in the Premier League with Chelsea, but had been unable to make the grade at Stamford Bridge. A move to the Bundesliga, first with Werder Bremen on loan and then with Wolfsburg, allowed his game to mature, though.
Not blessed with natural strength, it is De Bruyne’s intelligence, guile and technique that set him apart in the No.10 role.
In 2019-20, for example, he became the first player to assist 20 or more goals in a single season in two of Europe’s major leagues.
Indeed, with Eden Hazard coming back from injury, much of Belgium’s hopes this summer are set to be pinned on the City star.
1. Kylian Mbappe | France
A devout fan of Cristiano Ronaldo since he was young, Mbappe is perhaps the player best poised to take over the mantle as the game’s leading superstar when the Portuguese and Lionel Messi finally make way.
The 22-year-old has already climbed to staggering heights in his career having broken through with a Monaco side that stunned Paris Saint-Germain to win Ligue 1 in 2017.
A year later, he became a world champion with France, becoming the first teenager to score in the final since Pele in 1958.
By that time, he had been bought by PSG and made the second-most expensive player of all time.
If he felt pressured by moving to his hometown club, he has not shown it. Indeed, his profile now rivals that of club-mate Neymar and he approaches Euro 2020 after the best season of his career.
This promises much for Euro 2016’s beaten finalists.
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