Top 10 Goalscorers of the European Championships

​The European Championships is without doubt one of the biggest competitions a footballer can win. Every four years the good and the great of Europe come together for a spectacular showpiece summer of football. 


Although nothing can beat the feeling of holding the Henri Delaunay trophy aloft as champions, one of the more important individual accolades to be won is surely the top scorer award at the tournament. 


Some players have a knack for scoring in the pressure of a major tournament time and time again, whilst others simply hit a purple patch over one glorious summer. 


Here are the top ten goalscorers of all time in the European Championships:

10. Wayne Rooney, England

​Wayne Rooney's first taste of tournament action was as an 18-year old at Euro 2004. Scoring four goals in the three group games, the then-Everton man had England fans dreaming, but an ankle injury sustained in the first half of the quarter-final tie against hosts Portugal led to his early withdrawal as the Three Lions bowed out on penalties. 


It would be eight agonising years before Rooney's next goal at any major international tournament as he grabbed the winner in a 1-0 victory over Ukraine at Euro 2012. The match against the co-hosts was his first at that summer's edition, having served a ban for the first two group matches. 


Still only 30 years of age, England's captain is also the country's all time top goalscorer, having surpassed Sir Bobby Charlton's record of 49 goals in September 2015. He's expected to play in a deeper role in France but don't bet against him adding to his tally this time around.  

9. Savo Milosevic, Yugoslavia (FR)

Euro 2000 was Milosevic's only European Championships, and his five goals meant he finished as joint top goalscorer with Patrick Kluivert​. FR Yugoslavia - as it was then known - made it to the quarter-finals but were knocked out by Kluivert's Netherlands in a crushing 6-1 defeat. 


That summer saw Yugoslavia involved in some high-scoring matches - as well as the quarter final, they shared the spoils in a 3-3 draw with Slovenia and were on the wrong end of a 4-3 scoreline against Spain in one of the competition's all-time classic matches.


Milosevic, who won the English League Cup with Aston Villa and the Russian Premier League with Rubin Kazan, went on to register 102 caps for his country, a record that was broken in 2013 by Dejan Stankovic. 

8. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal

Already assured of his place as one of the all time greats, Cristiano Ronaldo sits eighth in this list with six European Championship goals. The first tournament he appeared in - as a 19-year-old at Euro 2004 - took place in his home country, where Portugal suffered a shock in the final as Angelos Charisteas' goal gave Greece the unlikeliest of victories. 


After Portugal's poor showing at Euro 2008, Ronaldo went into Euro 2012 as the side's captain. Although he scored three goals on the way to a semi-final penalty shootout defeat against Spain, his tournament will be remembered for something he didn't do. 


With a crucial fourth penalty needing to be converted, Portugal expected their star man to take responsibility. Instead, defender Bruno Alves stepped up and subsequently missed.


Ronaldo and manager Paulo Bento both claimed it was always planned for the forward to take the fifth, but harsher critics suggested it was more a case of him wanting to score the deciding penalty that led to them missing out.

7. Nuno Gomes, Portugal

​Despite playing the same number of games and scoring the same amount of goals as his compatriot Ronaldo, Nuno Gomes edges the Real Madrid superstar thanks to his better minutes-to-goals ratio. 


Scoring in three finals, becoming the first Portuguese footballer to do so in the process, he is perhaps best remembered by England fans as the man that completed the comeback from two goals down to win 3-2 in their opening Euro 2000 group match. 


A two-time league winner in his own country with Benfica, and currently fifth on his Portugal's all-time top goalscorers chart, he retired in 2013 following a spell in the English Championship with Blackburn Rovers. 

6. Thierry Henry, France

French striker Thierry Henry's glorious career saw him win everything there is to win in the game, including the European Championships of 2000, where his three goals helped France to victory as his country's top goalscorer. 


The Arsenal legend had also been Les Bleus' top scorer when they won the World Cup two years previously.


Now retired, Henry remains France's all time record goalscorer. He scored six goals overall at Championship finals, the last coming in 2008 with him registering the national side's only goal as they crashed out in the first round. 


Originally a winger, Henry became one of the world's most feared strikers around the turn of the century. His trademark pace and ice-cool finishing led to him becoming Arsenal's record goalscorer, and he was immortalised in 2011 as one of four statues outside the club's Emirates stadium. 

5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden

Whatever hasn't been ​said about Zlatan Ibrahimovic isn't worth listening to. One of the most widely reported-on footballers of his generation, Zlatan has already kept us all guessing as to where he will play his club football next season, but before that he's got the small matter of Euro 2016 to contend with. 


This will be his fourth finals, and he's been nothing if not consistent, scoring two at each event. An extraordinary back-heeled goal against Italy in 2004 and his stunner against Greece four years later have provided some golden moments, but arguably his best 'Euros' moment was in 2012, where his outstanding volley opened the scoring in the group game against France, and was later voted goal of the tournament. 


With Sweden only getting past the group stage once with Ibrahimovic in their ranks - at Euro 2004, where they were unlucky to go out in the quarter-finals on penalties against the Dutch - the 34-year old will be keen to cement his reputation this time around.

4. Patrick Kluivert, Netherlands

​Now manager of Caribbean island nation Curacao, Patrick Kluivert certainly had an eventful career, bursting onto the European scene with the Champions League winner in 1995 for Ajax against future employers AC Milan. 


His first European Championships was a year later in England, where his one goal came in the 4-1 defeat at the hands of the hosts, and managed to knock out Scotland on goal difference in the process.


However, the 2000 edition in his home country was where he made the biggest impact. Scoring five goals to end as joint top scorer with Savo Milosevic, his goals led the Dutch side to a semi-final penalty defeat against Italy. 


What's worse for Kluivert is that he missed a penalty during normal time that would have sent his country to the final against France.


An almost nomadic end to his domestic career saw him play in four different leagues over four years, although Kluivert's international career effectively ended after Euro 2004, with a fantastic return of 40 goals in 79 appearances.

3. Ruud van Nistelrooy, Netherlands

​Ruud van Nistelrooy will be remembered as one of the finest finishers in footballing history. His exploits at club level for Manchester United and Real Madrid often overshadow an impressive international career that saw him hit 35 goals in 70 appearances for the Netherlands.


A cruciate knee injury sustained on the eve of Euro 2000, where the Oranje were co-hosts, ruled van Nistelrooy out of the tournament, meaning he had to wait until 2004 for his tournament debut (the Netherlands having also failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2002). 


Scoring four goals in Portugal to help his country to the semi-finals of Euro 2004, and helping himself to two more in 2008, means he makes third position on this list.

2. Alan Shearer, England

Whilst Alan Shearer played in Euro 1992, and captained the national side ​at Euro 2000, it's really the 1996 edition that he's remembered for. The host country's main striker, Shearer hit five goals as England went all the way to the semi-finals only to lose out to eventual winners Germany on penalties.


Forming the deadly 'SAS' partnership with fellow striker Teddy Sheringham, Shearer only failed to find the net during the quarter-final with Spain, and expertly dispatched both his efforts in the shootouts. 


Retiring from international duty after a disappointing Euro 2000 campaign, the Newcastle legend continued to score goals for fun in the Premier League until he finally hung up his boots in 2006. 

1. Michel Platini, France

​Three Balon D'Ors in a row, a European Cup champion, a serial winner at domestic level; the list goes on. Michel Platini remains one of the finest footballers to have ever played the game. 


His crowning moment though was captaining France to victory in Euro 1984 - the only European Championship he appeared at - and his contribution to Les Bleus' success that year was huge. 


The nine goals that Juventus' midfield maestro scored - in just five games - included a 'perfect' hat-trick against Belgium in the group stage, a last gasp winner in extra time of the semi-final, and a beautiful free-kick against Spain in the final. 


His post-playing career has been eventful to say the least. The former national team manager and UEFA President was recently barred from football for eight years following his part in the well documented FIFA Ethics Corruption case, but his on-field legacy will remain even if his European Championship goal-scoring record is broken this summer.