Euro 2016 is over and Portugal are champions. Cristiano Ronaldo finally winning a trophy with the national team, while it was a disappointment for hosts France, who were beaten in the final by the Portuguese.
There were several moments that defined and shaped the tournament and here, we take a look at 10 players that contributed in no small measure to the excitement at the tournament.
It is our top 10 players of Euro 2016.
- Joshua Kimmich (Germany)
The 21-year old Bayern Munich midfielder only played his first game of Euro 2016 in the 1-0 final group game win over Northern Ireland, and to imagine he went on to star for Germany at right-back before they were eliminated by France in the semifinals. His attacking forays proved a threat to their opponents and gave Die Mannschaft a different edge when attacking.
- Patrice Evra (France)
The 35-year old was the oldest member of the French squad and while not being the captain, was the natural leader of the team. His performances in the tournament must have taken not a few people by surprise given his age and the thought that he had gone to Serie A to wither after he joined Juventus from Manchester United. If anything, he seems like a man reborn and was hugely influential in the hosts getting up to the final.
- Aaron Ramsey (Wales)
Ramsey was one of the players that held things down for Wales and made them as impressive as they were at the Euros. In their first major outing in 58 years, the Arsenal midfielder’s energy depicted what the Welsh team was all about at the tournament. He was sorely missed in the semifinal game against Portugal and it was no surprise that his industry was sorely missed as they bowed out of the competition.
- Jerome Boateng (Germany)
He was a colossus at the heart of the German defense and his injury in the semifinal loss to France was most unfortunate. The very impressive thing about Boateng’s play was his ability to almost function as a deep-lying playmaker given his good range of passes. The former Manchester City man has improved in leaps and bounds and must thank Pep Guardiola for the player he has become.
- Pepe (Portugal)
Easily one of the reasons Portugal got as far as they did and won the Euros. The Real Madrid defender was key to Portugal’s deep-sitting defence at the tournament and despite not being the most convincing team at the tournament, they were a very solid defensive unit of which Pepe was the leader.
- Rui Patricio (Portugal)
Portugal have not exactly been blessed with the best goalkeepers in the world, especially since Vitor Baia but at Euro 2016, Rui Patricio came into his own, and was a big part of Portugal’s impressive defensive unit. The Sporting Lisbon ‘keeper has truly improved from previously appearing to be just an average goalie to possibly one of the best in Europe at the minute.
- Dimitri Payet (France)
Though he had his best games in the tournament during the group stages, the West Ham forward was all the same one of the best players of Euro 2016. He was basically responsible for France pulling off those late wins and it could have been an entirely different story entirely without him. Nowhere close to Zinedine Zidane as some have decided to juxtapose, but he’s arguably France’s most gifted player at present.
- Gareth Bale (Wales)
The three goals he scored aside, he was supposed to be the driving force for the Welsh campaign and he didn’t disappoint. He was the inspiration the Red Dragons needed to push forward and boy, did they do just that. While he probably would have loved for them to go all the way, but a semifinal finish for team that hasn’t tasted major international competition for 58 years is surely an amazing finish.
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
The tears that flowed from his eyes when he was taken off injured in the final against France would probably have been a headliner if they hadn’t won. And while Euro 2016 didn’t seem like his best chance to win silverware with Portugal, it was probably his last. His three goals were key to Portugal winning the tournament, especially the brace against Hungary in the final group game which saw them through to the round of 16 as one of the best placed third teams.
- Antoine Griezmann (France)
What a disappointing night it was for the Atletico Madrid forward who scored six goals for Les Bleus and was the best of player of Euro 2016 by some distance. Alas, he couldn’t crown his efforts with the trophy but that shouldn’t remove anything from the remarkable player he was at the tournament. He must look ahead for a better future.
Honourable mentions: Hugo Lloris, Moussa Sissoko, Raphael Guerreiro, Mario Gomez, Toni Kroos