Match of the Day Top 10 podcast: Best Euros strikers

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June 5, 2021
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    Wayne Rooney celebrates in front of England fans at Euro 2004Wayne Rooney celebrates in front of England fans at Euro 2004

    Euro 2020 on the BBC
    Dates: 11 June-11 July. Venues: Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome, Seville, St-Petersburg. Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC Radio 5 Live, iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for more details

    "Strikers can be horrible at times. They can be lazy, don't do the work – but then they get all the credit!"

    Micah Richards gives a light-hearted defender's view on the latest Match of the Day: Top 10 podcast, which focuses on the greatest strikers to appear at a European Championship.

    England's all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney has found a spot on the final list – but did Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer also make the cut?

    To hear how they made their final selections, make sure you listen to the podcast on BBC Sounds.

    Alan Shearer – England (Shearer: 10th, Richards: 8th)

    Former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer scored 30 goals for England and is joint seventh on the Three Lions' all-time leading goalscorer list, alongside Nat Lofthouse and Sir Tom Finney. Shearer won the Golden Boot at Euro '96 after scoring five goals as England came agonisingly close to winning their first major trophy since the World Cup in 1966.

    Richards: I think you are being quite modest. Seven goals in nine appearances is good – it is exceptional, really. I think you are doing yourself a disservice.

    Shearer: You're right – I should be higher! I played in three tournaments. We all know about 1996, but Euro 2000 was a disaster. I said before the tournament I was going to retire from international football, so I was desperate to go out on a high.

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Sweden (Shearer: 8th, Richards: 10th)

    Sadly we won't get to see Ibrahimovic in all his glory at Euro 2020 after the Sweden striker was ruled out of the tournament because of a knee injury. The 39-year-old, who was recalled to the squad in March after coming out of international retirement, has scored 62 times for his country and is Sweden's record goalscorer.

    Richards: It is unfortunate for Zlatan that Sweden didn't go all the way, but I think the players ahead of him [on the list] have maybe done a little bit more.

    Ruud van Nistelrooy – Netherlands (Shearer: 9th, Richards: 9th)

    Ruud van Nistelrooy celebrates scoring at Euro 2004Van Nistelrooy was named in Uefa's Team of the Tournament after an impressive Euro 2004

    Ruud van Nistelrooy had to wait to make his mark on the international stage after a cruciate ligament injury ruled him out of the Netherlands squad for Euro 2000. He finally made his international debut at Euro 2004, scoring in all three of their group matches. The former Manchester United striker earned 70 caps and scored 35 goals for the Netherlands.

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    Richards: He was just instinctive, a predator. He was one of those players that when he got a chance you just knew he was going to score.

    I remember watching him growing up, I used to think 'he's rubbish he is, he doesn't do nothing'. You watched Thierry Henry and it was effortless, but Ruud didn't do nothing – and scored. Then you grow up and learn he was so intelligent, he had movement. Unbelievable.

    Antoine Griezmann – France (Shearer: 7th, Richards: 7th)

    Antoine Griezmann scores against Germany in the semi-finals of Euro 2016Griezmann was awarded the Golden Boot at Euro 2016 thanks to his six goals for France

    Antoine Griezmann was already a European Under-19 Championship winner for France when he made his senior debut aged 23. Four major tournaments later, the Barcelona striker was top scorer at Euro 2016 and voted Player of the Tournament as France finished runners-up to Portugal. He also scored in Les Blues' 4-2 win over Croatia in the 2018 World Cup final.

    Shearer: Euro 2016 was one of those tournaments where everything fell to him – and he put them all in the back of the net.

    Wayne Rooney – England (Shearer: 6th, Richards: 6th)

    David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes celebrate during Euro 2004Rooney scored four goals at the Euros in 2004 before he was injured in the quarter-final against Potugal

    Wayne Rooney became the youngest player to play for England when he earned his first cap at 17 years and 111 days. Euro 2004 would be his announcement as one of the game's brightest talents, briefly becoming the tournament's youngest ever goalscorer at the age of 18. In 2015 he secured his place in history when he surpassed World Cup-winning legend Sir Bobby Charlton as England's record goalscorer.

    Shearer: He was 18 years of age and still at Everton at Euro 2004, so for him to go into the tournament with so much riding on him, his performances were unbelievable – until his metatarsal injury.

    Wayne was brilliant. He could play anywhere and would play anywhere. He would, without doubt, put the team ahead of himself. Just an incredible player, so good.

    Jurgen Klinsmann – Germany (Shearer: 5th, Richards: 5th)

    Jurgen Klinsmann celebrates during Euro 96Klinsmann scored in three Euros tournaments during his international career

    A striker who rose to the occasion on the international stage, Jurgen Klinsmann collected 108 caps for West Germany and Germany, scoring 47 times. The former Inter Milan and Tottenham forward netted in all six major tournaments he played in, and captained a unified Germany to victory over the Czech Republic at Euro '96 at Wembley Stadium.

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    Shearer: Lovely guy, Klinsmann. He was an intelligent, quick player.

    Lineker: I obviously played against him in the World Cup semi-final in 1990 and when I spoke to him about it he said 'oh, I was terrible in the game, I played so badly – that's why I didn't take a penalty!' He was a runner and he had almost a horse-like gait the way he ran; really athletic, quick and dynamic. One of the greats.

    Gerd Muller – West Germany (Shearer: 4th, Richards: 4th)

    Gerd Muller scores for West Germany against the Netherlands at the World Cup in 1974Muller won the European Championship and World Cup with West Germany

    One of the greatest strikers the game has ever seen, Gerd Muller scored 1,251 goals in 998 games for Bayern Munich, and 68 goals in 62 appearances for West Germany. His precision finishing and natural goalscoring instinct saw him crowned Ballon d'Or winner in 1970. His four goals – including two in the final – helped West Germany lift the European Championship in 1972, then his winning goal sealed a 2-1 victory over the Netherlands in the 1974 World Cup final.

    Lineker: I would say Muller is one of the most natural six-yard box, penalty box… poacher, proper poacher. He was [Sergio] Aguero-ish in his low centre of turn. Unbelievable. He only ever played two games at the Euros – and scored four goals and they won.

    For me growing up, he was the best at doing what I wanted to do. What a goalscorer.

    Thierry Henry – France (Shearer: 3rd, Richards: 3rd)

    Thierry Henry and France players celebrate winning Euro 2000Henry scored 51 goals in 123 appearances for France before retiring from international football in 2010

    After winning the World Cup on home soil in 1998, France were favourites to lift the European Championship in 2000 – and they didn't disappoint. Thierry Henry was voted man of the match in three of France's games, including victory in the final against Italy, and was named in the Team of the Tournament. He picked up the French Footballer of the Year award a record five times and was also recently inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.

    Richards: Henry turned me inside out! He was my worst nightmare because he was quick. He wasn't strong, but as soon as you touched him he would go over. He was just annoying, you couldn't do anything. He would just run past you and make you look stupid.

    I remember once we were playing against each other, he nutmegged me, then he winked at me, and then he was gone. He was just arrogant. It was brilliant. It was a pleasure to play on the same pitch as him.

    Marco van Basten – Netherlands (Shearer: 2nd, Richards: 2nd)

    A Ballon d'Or winner on three occasions between 1988 and 1992, Marco van Basten is considered one of the best players of his generation. The former Ajax and AC Milan striker had struggled with an ankle injury before Euro '88, but when the time came Van Basten scored five goals for the Netherlands during the tournament, including a hat-trick against England, plus a spectacular volley against the Soviet Union in the final as his country were crowned champions.

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    Shearer: Another player who had the balance and the ability to score great goals, as well as score tap-ins. Imagine how many goals he would've scored if it wasn't for all those injuries. He was unbelievable, playing in a brilliant team, both at club and at international level.

    Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal (Shearer: 1st, Richards: 1st)

    It takes a special kind of player to share a name with a legendary Brazilian striker and not to be upstaged. When the delayed Euro 2020 tournament kicks off this summer, Cristiano Ronaldo will become the first player to play at five European Championships. If the 36-year-old great scores just one goal for Portugal at this tournament he will surpass France legend Michel Platini as the competition's all-time top scorer.

    Shearer: It's alright having the ability but you have to have the attitude to go with it, and that hunger to make yourself the best and stay there – and Ronaldo, along with Lionel Messi, has taken the goalscoring ability to ridiculous levels now. He'll get his 10th goal this summer and break the record, I'm sure.

    Richards: I did alright against him but he just kept getting better and better. As he's got older he's an inspiration to any young kid and adult. He deserves to break the goalscoring record at the Euros; he's still in great shape and still scoring goals.

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