Looking back: The European Champions of yesteryear, Where are they now? – by Jake Cutler – Far Post Header


With the 2021 European Championships quick approaching, it’s protected to say that soccer fever is amongst us. This is without doubt one of the largest phases on the soccer calendar and generally is a likelihood for legends to be born. From family names to the extra obscure, it is a listing of the highest 11 most iconic footballers to have received a European Championship.

With this stated, while these gamers might have been well-known of their prime, a few of them have left the sport fully, while others are as much as some fairly uncommon issues, with others nonetheless enjoying on the highest stage. Right here’s a glance again at earlier European Champions and what they’re to this point.

Goalkeeper: Peter Schmeichel (Denmark)
Peter Schmeichel was finest recognized for his heroics at Manchester United. Nevertheless, he was additionally the #1 throughout Denmark’s record-breaking 1992 European Championship win. Right here, ‘The Nice Dane’ saved a clear sheet within the last in opposition to reigning champions and favorites Germany. Denmark received 2-0, with Schmeichel on the peak of his profession, having simply signed for Manchester United.

As of late, he may be discovered as a pundit, albeit this has by no means been a full-time gig for the goalkeeper. In 2006, he additionally starred on BBC present ‘Strictly come Dancing’. Nevertheless, his proudest moments after retirement shall be seeing his son Kasper win the Premier League with underdogs Leicester Metropolis. This was the primary time that father and son goalkeepers had received the Premier League.

Left again: Bixente Lizarazu (France)
In 2000, Bixente Lizarazu received the European Championship with France, simply two years after their World Cup win which he additionally featured in. This was a terrific second for the French, and Lizarazu proved himself as one of many best ever left backs. France beat Italy 2-1 with a golden objective winner by way of David Trezeguet. Nevertheless, Lizarazu quietly plied his tried on the again and helped positive up the defence.

Since retiring, Lizarazu has actually remained bodily lively. He’s a eager surfer and sportsman. Curiously, he’s additionally a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has even received a European Championship within the martial artwork, again in 2009! A person of many abilities, Lizarazu can converse 5 totally different languages.

Centre again: Traianos Dellas (Greece)
Everyone who watched the 2004 European Championships will bear in mind the legendary Greek squad who received it in opposition to all odds. Constructed on a good defence, they beat hosts Portugal 1-0 within the last which noticed Cristiano Ronaldo’s facet shockingly knocked out. Dellas was on the coronary heart of this defensive unit which earned him ‘The Colossus of Rhodes’.

Since then, he married a Greek supermodel and stayed with soccer. He can now be discovered managing Panetolikos which is his third membership in Greek soccer. Again in 2014 he received the Greek league with AEK Athens. Unsurprisingly, his groups are recognized for his or her defensive solidarity.

Centre again: Carles Puyol (Spain)
Shifting on to our subsequent defensive large, Spain’s Carles Puyol is probably their best ever defender. Identified for his aggression and management qualities, he received a number of medals all through his profession for membership and nation. While the 2008 European Championship finals wasn’t precisely a traditional, it was nonetheless a hit for Puyol. Spain received 1-0, beating the Germans and saying themselves as a European powerhouse within the course of.

Since retirement, Puyol has lived a comparatively quiet life however nonetheless does the odd little bit of punditry work on the facet. After retiring, he was truly provided a job by Barcelona as a sports activities director. Nevertheless, Puyol declined this position citing different initiatives taking on his time and a focus. Though he retired a one-club-man, he selected to not proceed his position at Barca.

Proper again: Lilian Thuram (France)
With Lizarazu at left again and Lilian Thuram at proper again, it’s no surprise the French received the 2000 European Championship. Lilian Thuram was a implausible old-school wing-back who knew methods to defend. He additionally went on to play for France 142 occasions which speaks volumes when it comes to his significance on the again.

After leaving soccer, Thuram has typically been concerned in French politics. Right here, he has campaigned for homosexual marriage and in addition opposed French governments over time. In 2011, he additionally hosted his personal artwork gallery named Human Zoos: The Invention of the Savage. This was based mostly on colonialism and was critically acclaimed.

Left midfield: Andreas Iniesta (Spain)
Returning to the 2008 last, Andreas Iniesta was on the peak of his powers and was finest recognized for his midfield partnership with Xavi. Merely put, Iniesta was the talisman for Spain who pulled the strings and managed the play on the left. While Fernando Torres received the winner, Iniesta and Xavi received the plaudits.

Now aged 37, Iniesta remains to be enjoying…nearly. After leaving Barcelona in 2018, he’s spent the previous few years plying his commerce at Vissel Kobe in Japan. Usually talking, Japan isn’t the most typical place for getting older footballers to retire, however it appears to be like like that is the case for Iniesta. As soon as he quits enjoying, you possibly can virtually assure a suggestion from Barcelona as a director.

Central midfield: Patrick Vieira (France)
Extensively considered one of the technical and gifted defensive midfielders ever, Vieira was typically the driving pressure within the French staff and was one thing of a basic. In a recreation that was determined by golden objective guidelines, he was simply the kind of participant you would want to depend on. By protecting the ball with ease, he allowed the French defence a moments relaxation, while additionally supporting the likes of Thierry Henry forward of him.

After retiring, Vieira has had two spells in administration. The primary was with New York Metropolis and the second with Good. While his position at New York was deemed cheap, he was ultimately sacked by Good after a poor string of outcomes. Usually talking, his managerial future hangs within the steadiness depending on his subsequent enterprise.

Central midfield: Marcos Senna (Spain)
As of late, Marcos Senna was one thing of a forgotten man when it comes to world soccer. Nevertheless, with out him, Spain wouldn’t have received the 2008 European Championship in opposition to Germany. A Brazilian import who was in his 30s, Senna was within the Autumn of his profession however he actually made it depend. Defensively glorious, it’s no surprise that Spain recorded a clear sheet with their victory.

Little is understood about his post-football profession as Senna was typically quiet about his personal life. In some ways, his private life typically mirrored his position on the pitch. He did discovered the Evangélico FC charity that helped develop footballers in Spain while instructing Christian values. This isn’t too shocking, as like many Brazilian footballers, he’s a religious Catholic.

Proper midfield: Renato Sanches (Portugal)
In 2016, underdogs Portugal beat France 1-0 to win their first ever European Championship. On the time, Renato Sanches was nonetheless 19 and so lots was anticipated when it comes to his potential. Bodily robust and with nice imaginative and prescient, Sanches received the midfield battle and helped Portugal attain glory. Unsurprisingly, his worth skyrocketed in consequence.

Nonetheless enjoying at age 23, Sanches is the youngest participant on this listing. A poor spell at Bayern Munich and Swansea adopted, however a transfer to Lille reinvigorated his profession. Such was his success on the French membership, is that he helped them to their first league title in years. Within the last recreation of the season, he received a key help to see Lille get a significant win. With two league titles beneath his belt, the lad has not finished too badly in any respect.

Centre ahead: Marco Van Basten (Netherlands)
Again in 1988, Netherlands beat the Soviet Union 2-0 and a star was born. Marco Van Basten received on the rating sheet and was the Championship’s high scorer. Identified for his abilities and magnificence on the ball, he’s typically considered one of the proficient gamers to have ever lived.

Unsurprisingly, Van Basten remains to be in soccer. After retirement, he’s since managed a string of Dutch golf equipment, however has by no means truly received something. As of late he’s a technical director with FIFA.

Centre ahead: Eder (Portugal)
Eder is the one participant to make this listing who was a substitute. Such is the significance of his objective, that it might be too merciless to go away him out. After having a patchy profession at finest, Eder was purchased on while Portugal had been largely defending in opposition to France. This substitution might not have ever occurred had Cristiano Ronaldo not gone off injured. In further day out of nowhere, Eder scored a long-range screamer and cemented his standing as a cult hero. This was nice to see, contemplating he later admitted he had beforehand thought-about suicide years earlier than.

Nonetheless aged 33, Eder remains to be enjoying within the Russian league with Lokomotiv Moscow. While his objective report stays pretty low, he’s nonetheless an everyday and has received the Russian Premier League.

Jake received in contact with me this week to see if he may do a couple of articles for this weblog and I used to be glad to supply him the chance to indicate his abilities. I’ve discovered this text very attention-grabbing and hope that you simply loved studying it too.


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