Major League Soccer

The top 5 MLS players involved in European Championship history - ranked

Lizzy Becherano
Thierry Henry won Euro 2000 with France
Thierry Henry won Euro 2000 with France / PATRICK HERTZOG/Getty Images

After more than a year of waiting, Euro 2020 has finally commenced. The tournament kicked off with Italy beating Turkey 3-0 in Rome on Friday and will come to a close on July 11 at Wembley Stadium.

The tournament was first established in 1958 and has been played 15 times since. After several structural changes over the years, UEFA decided on 24 teams to battle for the title of best national team in the continent. 

In 16 European Championships and 26 years of MLS' existence, champions have graced the fields after successful European stints. In 2007, David Beckham became the first high profile European player to sign for a MLS club, and since then, the American league has been host to a plethora of players that have featured in the European Championship.

Here’s a guide to Major League Soccer’s best European Championship participants ranked:

5. Steven Gerrard - LA Galaxy, England

English midfielder Steven Gerrard kicks
Steven Gerrard for England / AFP/Getty Images

After almost two decades with Liverpool FC, Steven Gerrard signed with LA Galaxy in 2015 and made an impact on American football. The player had a legendary career in the Premier League and internationally. He featured in three different European Championships, in 2000 and 2004 while captaining England 2012. Despite not winning the trophy, Gerrard led the Three Lions to some very successful moments.

4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic - LA Galaxy, Sweden

Sweden v Belgium - Group E: UEFA Euro 2016
Zlatan Ibrahimovic during Sweden v Belgium - Group E: UEFA Euro 2016 / Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Zlatan Ibrahimovic signed for LA Galaxy in 2018 and played with the MLS side for two seasons. Though he was ruled out of the current Euros due to a knee injury, the player has a longstanding history with the tournament. He represented Sweden in 2004, 2008 2012, and 2016, and formed part of the 2012 Team of the Tournament for his excellent performance. In MLS, he scored a phenomenal 52 goals in 56 games.

3. David Beckham - LA Galaxy, England

David Beckham
David Beckham at Euro 2004 / Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Former LA Galaxy player and current Inter Miami CF co-owner David Beckham will forever be engraved in the history of the European Championship. Beckham stands in third place for overall assists with five overall, and the player with most assists in the group stage. Beyond numbers, Beckham’s impact on England in the Euros cannot be denied. He captained his team to the quarter-finals during the 2004 tournament, narrowly losing to Portugal in penalties, skying his penalty in the shootout. He went on to sign for the Galaxy in 2007, recording 98 goals and earning back-to-back MLS Cup titles.

2. Bastian Schweinsteiger - Chicago Fire, Germany

Bastian Schweinsteiger
Bastian Schweinsteiger during Germany v France - Semi Final: UEFA Euro 2016 / Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

The legendary midfielder joined Chicago Fire in 2017 and recorded eight goals in 85 overall appearances. Internationally, Schweinsteiger played for Germany from 2004 to 2016, forming part of one of the most successful national teams of the time. He debuted in 2004, and currently holds the German record for most European Championship appearances with 18 matches played at the tournament. He formed part of three European Championship squads.

1. Thierry Henry - New York Red Bulls, France

Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry at Euro 2008 / Phil Cole/Getty Images

The legendary French player joined the New York Red Bulls in 2010 and recorded 51 goals over the course of five seasons. Internationally, Henry is France’s leading goal scorer and eight time football player of the year. In 2000, Henry led France to a UEFA European Championship title after a stunning performance throughout the stage and was named in the Team of the Tournament. Overall, he made 123 appearances for France and scored a total of 51 goals.