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Football Player Awards at the Euros – What Trophies Are Up For Grabs?

The European Championship, or Euros as they are often called, are a major highlight of the football calendar. For European footballers appearing at this tournament is second only to playing in a World Cup, whilst many feel that the overall standard of football is better at the Euros due to the lack of weaker teams from regions where football is less developed.

Players from major nations such as Germany, Spain, France and, dare we say it, England, dream of lifting the trophy and the number one aim for every player will be team glory. However, whilst football is a game that is undoubtedly about the collective efforts of the 11 players on the pitch, the subs, the wider squad and even the broader members of the group, such as managers, coaches, physios and so on, it is also a sport that offers huge individual glory and prestige.

On the 14th of July 2024 one captain will lift the Henri Delaunay Trophy and one nation will be crowned champions of Euro 2024 in Germany. However, whilst an individual prize would offer little in the way of instant consolation to any player who missed out on the main aim, the European Championship does have a number of trophies to hand out to players for their own personal performances.

Top Scorer, Top Award

Euro 2024 Top Goalscorer Odds

Probably the most prestigious individual prize and also the best known, is that for the top goalscorer. This is often referred to as the Golden Boot and any player claiming this prize is likely to see their wages, transfer value and worldwide recognition increase significantly.

This award is given to the player who scores the most goals throughout the tournament. Obviously, we think, own goals do not count, but it should be noted that goals in extra time do, but ones in penalty shootouts do not. And, obviously once again, penalties taken in normal time or extra time are included in a player’s tally.

In the event of a tie, assists are used as a deciding factor. Should players be level on both goals and assists then the player to have played the fewest minutes will awarded the prize. In 2012 Fernando Torres was one of six players to bag three goals (nobody managed more), whilst he and Mario Gomez were level on assists. However, Spaniard Torres took individual glory having played fewer minutes than the German.

Other winners of this award include Alan Shearer (in 1996), the Georgie bagging five goals to help England to the semis, and Michel Platini, who notched nine in 1984 for France. No other player has managed more than the six that Antoine Griezmann scored for France to claim the Golden Boot in 2016. Further notable winners include Gerd Muller (1972, four goals), Marco van Basten (1988, five), and Cristiano Ronaldo (2020, five goals).

Player of the Tournament

Player of the Tournament was first officially awarded in 1996 with German defender Matthias Sammer becoming the first winner. Unusually this prize has never been awarded to an out-and-out attacker, although 2016 winner Griezmann falls closest to that classification. Winners up to and including 2020 are listed below:

  • 1996 – Matthias Sammer, defender, Germany
  • 2000 – Zinedine Zidans, midfielder, France
  • 2004 – Theodoros Zagorakis, defender, Greece
  • 2008 – Xavi Hernandez, midfielder, Spain
  • 2012 – Andres Iniesta, midfielder, Spain
  • 2016 – Antoine Griezmann, attacker, France
  • 2020 – Gianluigi Donnarumma, keeper, Italy
  • 2024 – Jude Bellingham?*, midfielder, England

*Given this award has almost exclusively gone to a player from the winning team (aside from 2016, when Griezmann’s France lost in the final), we can but hope…

Young Player of the Tournament

This award was inaugurated as recently as 2016 and is given to the best player at the tournament who was 20 or younger at the start of the calendar year of the competition. In common with the Player of the Tournament award, this is decided by UEFA’s technical observers, who, in 2016, included Sir Alex Ferguson, for example.

Portugal’s Renato Sanchez became the first footballer to win this prize, pipping Kinglsey Coman and international colleague Raphael Guerreiro in 2016. In 2020 Spain’s Pedri was honoured and in 2024 perhaps Jude Bellingham will take glory (let us dream, ok?!).

Team of the Tournament

The final prize handed out at each European Championship is another that is decided by the technical observers from UEFA. The Team of the Tournament sees this panel of football experts decide on the best XI of the tournament based on the performances at the championship. These tend to be picked based on a viable, realistic formation, so don’t expect to see a goalkeeper, a defender, a few midfielders and then a very attack-heavy group of players.

At the last tournament, played in 2021, though officially Euro 2020, the panel opted for five players from eventual champions Italy, with three England players making the cut. Pedri also made the XI, with Dane Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku completing the line-up, which can be seen below.

  • Gianluigi Donnarumma
  • Kyle Walker
  • Harry Maguire
  • Leonardo Bonucci
  • Leonardo Spinnazola
  • Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
  • Pedri
  • Jorginho
  • Raheem Sterling
  • Romelu Lukaku
  • Federico Chiesa

None of that group made the team at the Euros in 2016 but if England are to go all the way in 2024 they will probably need to see Walker keep his place. Making the Team of the Tournament is a huge honour for any player and, of course, whilst none would swap a winner’s medal for inclusion, it certainly looks very good on the CV.

Last and Very Much Least

It is worth noting that technically speaking the Man of the Match awards handed out for each game should fall under the umbrella of prizes handed out by UEFA at the Euros. These are announced after every individual clash but whilst they are worthwhile awards, they do not carry anything like the prestige of the tournament-based prizes.