By News Team
Last Updated: 23rd June 2021
The European Championship is the pinnacle of European international football and the competition has seen some legendary goal scorers across the years.
With this summer’s Euros well underway, we take a look back at the Euro top scorers in European Championship history, with a new leader having moved his way to the front of the queue during the current tournament.
Ruud van Nistelrooy (Netherlands), Patrick Kluivert (Netherlands), Wayne Rooney (England), Thierry Henry (France), Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden), Nuno Gomes (Portugal) – 6 goals
Kicking us off are six players who all managed to net six goals during their time playing in European Championships – and names that were feared by defenders throughout Europe. Netherlands striker Ruud van Nistelrooy played in Euro 2004 and 2008 and scored four goals in 2004 including his memorable strike against fierce rivals Germany. Fellow Oranje international Patrick Kluivert also sits on six, with his main goal tally coming in Euro 2000 when he notched five goals, including his hat-trick against Yugoslavia. For the Three Lions, Wayne Rooney notched four goals in his tournament debut in Euro 2004 before also scoring in 2012 and 2016.
Elsewhere, Thierry Henry is also amongst this illustrious line-up, scoring six across the 2000, 2004 and 2008 tournaments. Most tables in football wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored the goal of the tournament in 2004, while Nuno Gomes rounds off the list of players tied on six goals, with the striker scoring the winner for Portugal over England in their 3-2 victory in Euro 2000.
Alan Shearer (England), Antoine Griezmann (France) – 7 goals
Sitting next in the list, tied in third place with seven goals, are Alan Shearer and Antoine Griezmann. Griezmann takes his place after his Golden Boot-winning performance at Euro 2016, helping France to reach the final. He totalled an impressive six-goal haul in seven games in that tournament – a record for a single tournament only beaten by compatriot Michel Platini. Griezmann followed that up with another goal against Hungary at this summer’s Euros to take his tally to seven. Sitting tied on seven goals with Griezmann is England striker Alan Shearer. Shearer notched five goals as top scorer at Euro 96 as England reached the semi-finals, while he scored two more at Euro 2000.
Michel Platini (France) – 9 goals
Although no longer the record Euros top scorer of all time, Michel Platini still remains the leading goal scorer at a single European Championship tournament. Whilst captaining France in Euro 1984, Platini led the nation to their first major title in international football, scoring a herculean nine goals in just five games en route – a record for a single Euro tournament still unbeaten and highly unlikely to be anytime soon. Without injuries scuppering Platini’s career, he would have undoubtedly recorded a few more goals on the biggest stages, but even so, his record speaks for itself. Platini was the leading scorer in Euros history for almost three decades, before being overtaken this summer by a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – 12 goals
Who else could be top of the list apart from the player considered by some to be the greatest of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo. Key to Ronaldo’s rise to the top of this table is the longevity of his career. Playing on the biggest stage in Europe since 2004, which was his international debut for Portugal at a major tournament, Ronaldo has featured in five European Championships.
He successfully navigated his first time at the Euros in 2004 with two goals in total as Portugal reached the final, though Euro 2008 was a relatively barren experience, only finding the net once. Ronaldo then scored three more at Euro 2012, but Euro 2016 would be his crowning moment, scoring three times including the decisive goal in the semi-final against Wales, as Portugal went on to become European champions.
He hasn’t stopped there, however. Ronaldo has already scored three times so far in this year’s Euros, including against Hungary to overtake Platini, making it 12 goals in total from 23 matches. Ronaldo doesn’t seem to be slowing down at any rate soon and he could well increase his lead as the Euros’ all-time top scorer. As for Euro top scorers odds for this year, Ronaldo is 5/2 to win the Golden Boot.