Euro 2020 Special

Euro 2020: The World-Class Stars Who Face the Final Curtain

Euro 2020 is upon us folks with just over two weeks to wait before Italy and Turkey kick off the festival of football on 11th June in Rome. Fans and pundits are already in full flow, trying to work out which teams will go all the way.

The Euro 2020 betting odds are backing World Champions France, while England and Belgium are both popular bets.

We’ll see some of the best players in world football over 30 days of action, and some stars may be at the Euro finals for the last time. So let’s take a look at five of the most experienced men who have dominated international football over the last decade and more.  

We should spare a thought for Spain’s greatest ever player, Sergio Ramos, who is missing out due to injury. And at 35 years of age, this might have been his European swansong.

But there are plenty of other old boys who are bound to feature heavily in the Euro 2020 highlights package.    

Cristiano Ronaldo (36): Portugal

You certainly won’t keep this man out of the picture. At the ripe old age of 36, he’s still one of the best players on the planet and head and shoulders above most of his opponents.

Juventus handed the Scudetto over to Inter Milan this season, but Ronaldo won the Capocannoniere by five more goals over Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku – ending the season with 29. 

With 103 goals from 173 international appearances and five Ballon D’Or awards to his name, Ronaldo is a phenomenon, and one which defences worldwide are terrified of.

The first European striker to achieve 100 goals isn’t quite finished yet. And if the 2016 European champions are to retain their trophy, then CR7 will be the man to take them there.      

Hugo Lloris (34): France

While Didier Deschamps France boasts some of the most exciting young talent in world football they have an experienced, brilliant, calming influence as the last line of defence in the shape of captain and keeper Hugo Lloris.

While his attacking colleagues took opponents apart, the Spurs stopper kept things secure at the back as France won the 2018 World Cup in style. 

He’s been France’s captain throughout their period of ascendancy, taking the responsibility back in 2012. He led Les Bleus to the quarter finals of the 2012 European Championships and the 2014 World Cup before reaching the final of Euro 2016 and winning the World Cup at Russia 2018.

At 34 years of age. he’s nowhere near over the hill for a goalkeeper and he may make another Euro finals tournament.

But if this is his last hurrah, here at SBOTOP we reckon the Spurs keeper can lead Les Bleus to another triumph.

Leonardo Bonucci (34): Italy

If you’re looking for the epitome of Italian defencive granite then look no further than Juventus’ Leo Bonucci.

He has been the rock at the heart of the Azzurri’s backline for the last decade, earning over 100 caps and, as a threat at set pieces, weighing in with some crucial goals.

Alongside club mate Giorgio Chiellini, he is an uncompromising figure and will welcome the opportunity to come head-to-head with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Italy head coach Roberto Mancini has put together an impressive team with a blend of youth and experience, and I won’t be surprised to see some 1-0s and 2-0s to Italy and the first will probably arrive on 11th June! 

Sergio Busquets (32): Spain

Barcelona’s midfield anchorman Sergio Busquets has represented the Catalans and Spain with distinction over the past 12 years.

While both his club and country have had some of the most exciting creative players in world football, Busquets has done the dirty work in a defencive midfield role.

His positional sense and uncompromising tackling does an awful lot to protect Spain’s attacking players while creating space for his team’s slick moves.

There’s so much to Busquet’s game as he dictates the pace of play with his accurate passing and there are few, if any, teams who wouldn’t have loved to have him in their ranks had he not been so loyal to the Blaugrana.      

Robert Lewandowski (32): Poland

Can Robert Lewandowski replicate his Bundesliga form and dominate in Euro 2020 too?
Robert Lewandowski wins the Torjägerkanone after scoring the most goals in 2020-21 Bundesliga season

It’s been another record breaking season for Robert Lewandowski. Even though the Pole suffered a knee injury in the run-in to Bayern Munich’s ninth successive Bundesliga title, he still ripped up the league by scoring an incredible 41 goals – 13 ahead of the league’s second top scorer Andre Silva of Eintracht Frankfurt.  

The main reason the likes of England’s Harry Kane or France’s Kylian Mbappe will have a chance of winning the Golden Boot at Euro 2020 is that Poland are unlikely to go too deep into the competition.

But if they do, then Lewandowski will more than likely pick up that particular award.