10 standout players to make sure you watch at Euro 2016


Europe's finest go head to head in France this summer, starting on June 10. Here, we pick out 10 players to watch at Euro 2016.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring for Real Madrid
(Nick Potts/EMPICS)

Other than convince the footballing world he is better than Lionel Messi, there is little Ronaldo has not achieved on an individual basis. 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.

Has broken the 50-goal barrier in the last six seasons at Real Madrid, and about the only thing he has not managed in his celebrated career is to win a major international tournament with Portugal.

2. Gareth Bale (Wales)

Gareth Bale
(David Davies/PA)

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 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 over Atletico Madrid in the same year.

3. Paul Pogba (France)

Paul Pogba playing for Juventus
(Massimo Pinca/AP)

Manchester United fans 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 wanted 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. Helped Juventus reach the 2015 Champions League final and will be desperate to fire France to European Championship glory on home soil.

4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)

PSG's Zlatan Ibrahimovic
(Christophe Ena/AP)

The only player in the tournament able to match Ronaldo for ego and self-confidence. The striker 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 St Germain, having declared that the tournament taking place without him would have been "unthinkable".

5. Robert Lewandowski (Poland)

Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring for Poland
(Czarek Sokolowski/AP)

Lewandowski is a classic number nine who has the ability to change the game in an instant with unerring finishing and a complete all-round game. Made his name at Borussia Dortmund under Jurgen Klopp and has not looked back since joining Bayern Munich.

The 27-year-old has scored 66 goals in his two seasons in Bavaria and has become used to the art of winning. Welcomes the pressure of being Poland's main man as he averages a goal every other game for his country, but needs an impressive tournament to underline his reputation.

6. Thomas Muller (Germany)

Thomas Muller playing for Germany
(Scott Heppell/AP)

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 when the pressure has been on.

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 being in the right place at the right time and the wonderful habit of putting the ball in the net.

7. Harry Kane (England)

Harry Kane celebrates scoring for Tottenham
(Martin Rickett/PA)

The Tottenham striker only made his international debut in March 2015 but he has increasingly looked the part for club and country and capable of leading the England frontline for many years to come.

Does not possess blistering pace, but is certainly brave and finds space by making intelligent runs and is strong in possession and good in the air. Scoring record at Spurs - 64 goals in 127 appearances - marks him out as a natural finisher and does not panic when he gets the chance in front of goal.

8. Luka Modric (Croatia)

Luka Modric is the stand-out name in the always stand-out Croatia kit
Luka Modric is the stand-out name in the always stand-out Croatia kit (Darko Bandic/AP)

There was a time when it was suggested Modric's slight frame would stop him from fulfilling his potential, especially when he moved to the hurly-burly of the Premier League by joining Tottenham in 2008.

But those days have long gone and the Croatia playmaker has become one of Real Madrid's most consistent performers in recent seasons. Like a boxer whose opponents cannot lay a glove on, Modric does not allow markers to get close to him and he almost has the ability to thread balls through the eye of a needle. A joy to watch.

9. Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)

Romelu Lukaku
Which way to France? (Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport)

First came to prominence at Anderlecht in 2009/10 when he was the top scorer in Belgium's top division as a teenager. Never got the chance to build his career at Chelsea, but he has blossomed at Everton where 45 goals in two seasons have justified his £28 million transfer fee.

Quick and powerful, he has the strength to hold off the most physical of defenders and convert chances. The 23-year-old scored only once at the 2014 World Cup, but he has matured since and could be the key to leading Belgium's so-called 'Golden Generation' to greatness.

10. Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)

Gianluigi Buffon celebrates after Juventus beat Real Madrid
(Andres Kudacki/AP)

Aficionados of goalkeeping will look no further than Italy's shot-stopper. It is more than 20 years since Buffon made his debut for Parma and the longevity of his career means he will be remembered as one of the goalkeeping greats.

Even at the age of 38, the Juventus number one was breaking records this year when he went 973 minutes without conceding a goal in Serie A. Buffon, who first appeared for Italy in 1997 and helped them win the 2006 World Cup, remains pivotal to the Azzurri's hopes of basking in Euro 2016 glory.