The European Championship is all about celebrating the game’s stars. The tournament represents a collection of European football’s best players showcasing their abilities with the hopes of bringing home the honour of winning the game’s most coveted trophy for their country.
While superstars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Bastian Schweinsteiger are sure to dominate the headlines, many of the game’s young and upcoming talents will use this stage as a springboard to success and announce themselves to the whole world.
With just hours remaining for the big kick off in France, here we have a look at the top 10 European talents seeking to take the Euro 2016 by storm over the next month.
Swipe through the slides below…
Notable mentions –
Marcus Rashford (England)
Less than six months ago Rashford was playing in the Manchester United under-18s. Yet after being elevated to the United first team by the former boss Louis van Gaal, he scored eight in 18 games, won the FA Cup, scored on his international debut and is now in the England squad for the Euro 2016. Unlikely to start the opening game against Russia, but he can not be written off given his script thus far.
Aleksandr Golovin (Russia)
In a Russian squad full of golden oldies, Golovin is the only player under the age of 25. The 20-year-old playmaker is highly-rated in his homeland having enjoyed a superb run for both club and country. He has impressed in various age groups and his call-up to the senior team was not unexpected. Now in the final year of his contract, a strong showing at the Euro 2016 will attract more suitors.
Federico Bernardeschi (Italy)
With a number of big names left out, Bernardeschi comes into a squad with a lot of pressure to perform. Despite only getting called into the Italy squad in March, Fiorentina’s number 10 may force his way into contention and could prove to be the perfect fit to play in the hole behind the two strikers. After a disappointing World Cup, the pressure is on The Azzurri to perform and the 22-year-old might just be the superstar they are looking for.
Hakan Calhanoglu (Turkey)
Technically-gifted and versatile, the 22-year-old has become renowned as arguably the best free-kick taker in Europe, scoring from fully 50 yards during his Hamburg days. Calhanoghlu has since moved to Bayer Leverkusen and impressed at Champions League level. A good Euro 2016 for the fleet-footed midfielder could alert a number of the European big guns, with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp a known admirer.
Marcel Sabitzer (Austria)
Likely to be a key player in the years to come for a rapidly improving Austria side, Sabitzer will hope that his versatility allows him to make a big contribution this summer. Capable of playing as a second striker or on either flank, the 22-year-old scored eight goals for RB Leipzig which were enough to help the Bundesliga 2 side to earn promotion, as well as attract interest from some big names on the continent.