Euro 2016 kicks off tonight and every big tournament needs some big name heroes.
With the tournament missing the likes of Craig Gordon, Grant Hanley, Barry Bannan and Steven Fletcher, here’s a look at some of the stars who will be in France lighting up the tournament.
Other than convince the footballing world he is better than Lionel Messi, there is little Ronaldo has not achieved.
The Real Madrid forward has been named Fifa’s world player of the year three times and his five goals in qualifying made him the leading scorer in European championship history.
He has broken the 50-goal barrier in the last six seasons at Real and about the only thing he has not managed in his celebrated career is to win a major international tournament with Portugal.
Almost single-handedly guided Wales into their first major tournament in more than 50 years. Bale, the world’s most expensive player, scored seven of Wales’ 11 goals in qualifying and also claimed two assists. Scored 19 goals in 23 league appearances for Real Madrid this season and is a huge threat whether running at defences or meeting crosses in the air. No stranger to the big occasion, netted a stunning winner in the 2014 Copa del Rey final against Barcelona and also scored Real’s decisive goal in the Champions League final victory against Atletico Madrid the same year.
Manchester United supporters still wake up in a cold sweat thinking about how Pogba was allowed to leave Old Trafford in 2012 and join Juventus. Since then the 23-year-old has developed into a colossus and one of the most coveted midfielders in the world. Pogba has the power and pace to get beyond opposition defences and is a combative performer with extraordinary touch and vision. He helped Juventus reach the 2015 Champions League final and will be desperate to help France to victory on home soil.
The only player in the tournament able to match Ronaldo for ego and self-confidence. The forward is 34 now but there appears to be no sign of his outrageous talent diminishing. Ibrahimovic scored 11 goals in qualifying and averages better than a goal every two games in international football, having scored three in their play-off victory against Denmark. Goes into Euro 2016 on the back of winning yet another domestic title at Paris Saint-Germain, having declared that the tournament taking place without him would have been unthinkable.
The master poacher has spent his entire career at Bayern Munich and has won most of the top prizes in world football. Part of Bayern’s Champions League-winning side in 2013, he has excelled for Germany. Claimed the Golden Boot at the 2010 World Cup with five goals and lifted the trophy in Brazil four years later as Germany beat Argentina 1-0 in the final. What he lacks in trickery, he makes up for with his timing and the wonderful habit of putting the ball in the net.