A year later than expected, Europe’s finest will go head-to-head this summer for the right to lift the Henri Delaunay Trophy. Also, many individual players will be eyeing up the Golden Boot and Player of the Tournament awards. In the following article, we’re presenting you our Top 5 Candidates for the Best Player of Euro 2020.
History of the award
The UEFA Best Player of the Tournament award was officially introduced at Euro 96. It has been won by some of the continent’s most legendary footballers… and Theo Zagorakis when the former Leicester midfielder captained Greece to their underdog triumph at Euro 2004. Germany’s Matthias Sammer (1996), France’s Zinedine Zidane (2000) and Spain legends Xavi (2008), and Andres Iniesta (2012) also played for the winning nation. Antoine Griezmann was player of the tournament despite France’s defeat by Portugal in extra time in the final of Euro 2016.
With the tournament opener looming, it’s time to bring you the list of the Top 5 candidates for the best player at Euro 2020.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal
This could potentially be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last major tournament. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner will be eager to make an impact in the competition as Portugal attempt to retain their title. A Seleção shocked host France to win Euro 2016 despite seeing their captain forced off with an injury in the 25th minute.
At the age of 36, Ronaldo had another productive Serie A season with Juventus, being Calcio’s top goalscorer with 29 goals. Ahead of Euro 2020, Ronaldo scored a total of 104 goals in 175 games for his country. The fact he takes the free-kicks, as well as penalties, increases his chances of scoring some more.
Romelu Lukaku – Belgium
Coming to Euro 2020 as a Serie A champion, Romelu Lukaku is playing the best football of his career. It’s fair to say that he had to work hard to prove the skeptics wrong during his career, but his world-class status is no longer in doubt after his goals fired Inter to the Serie A title.
Lukaku arrives at the tournament brimming with confidence, scoring 30 goals in just 44 games in all competitions for the Nerazzurri last season. The fact that he is Belgium’s all-time leading-scorer is enough reason to get him into this list. Romelu scored 60 times in his 90 international appearances, including four goals at the 2018 World Cup.
Harry Kane – England
Harry Kane has plenty in his favor. England, with the benefit of home advantage, is expected to go deep into the tournament. The Three Lions captain is also a favorite for the Golden Boot, which he has won at the 2018 World Cup. Kanes scored six goals in six matches in Russia.
This season Kane has showcased his all-around game for Tottenham. He recorded 14 assists in addition to 23 goals, becoming only the third player in the history of the Premier League to get both the Golden Boot and Playmaker awards in the same season. His international scoring rate is just as impressive with 34 goals in 54 caps.
Kevin De Bruyne – Belgium
There is a chance that Kevin De Bruyne could miss Belgium’s Euro 2020 opener against Russia. He sustained an acute nose bone and left orbital fractures in the Champions League final. But if he does return and plays at his usual level, he’ll have a great chance of winning this individual accolade. Belgium should go far, and a fit De Bruyne will be central to their success this summer.
His excellence for Manchester City was awarded the PFA Player’s Player Of The Year award at the end of the season. Still, one of the football’s best playmakers would love to deliver a first major tournament title for highly-rated Belgium at Euro 2020.
Kylian Mbappe – France
According to bookmakers, Kylian Mbappe is the biggest favorite for the UEFA Best Player of the Tournament after he ended the season with the Ligue 1 Player of The Year award. PSG missed out on the league title, but Mbappe finished the Ligue 1 campaign with 27 goals. He became the top scorer for the third consecutive year.
The French wunderkind has also been very effective for the national team, with 15 goals in his last 32 games. He has already scored four times at the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the age of 19. France coach Didier Deschamps must find a way to accommodate Mbappe, Karim Benzema, and Antoine Griezmann in the starting 11. However, the PSG ace is a massive threat, whether in a central role or cutting in from the left flank. Mbappe won the Best Young Player award at the 2018 World Cup, and we see no reason why he can’t continue collecting individual silverware.
We hope you like and agree with our Top 5 Candidates for the Best Player of Euro 2020 list. If you think that one of these players did not deserve to be on the list, or you have other favorites, feel free to make your voice heard in the comment section.