Portugal may have been eliminated from Euro 2020 but there is still a chance that Cristiano Ronaldo can finish up the tournament with a piece of individual silverware to take home.
Ronaldo is still leading the goal-scoring charts with five goals to his name at the end of the round of 16, one more than his closest rivals as we head into the quarterfinal stage.
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Portugal’s bid to retain their status as European champions came to an abrupt end when they were sent packing by Belgium. The result was made all the more frustrating for Ronaldo on a personal level as, after failing to find the net, he still remains one goal shy of breaking Ali Daei’s long-standing record for most goals scored in men’s international football.
The 36-year-old forward scored his 108th and 109th goals for his country against Hungary in the group stage to draw level with Daei in the all-time stakes — a record previously solely held by the Iran legend for over 15 years.
However, Ronaldo missed the chance to break the record on the Euro 2020 stage after drawing a blank in his nation’s 1-0 knockout defeat. Therefore his wait goes on, at least until September, when Portugal play a 2022 World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland.
Ronaldo’s hopes of remaining at the top of the goal-scoring chart are precarious, although a haul of five goals has been enough to claim the top goal-scorer award at every European Championship since 1984 — barring 2016, when Antoine Griezmann of France scored six goals in the first edition of the tournament after it expanded from 16 to 24 teams.
Griezmann, too, is now out of the running along with France teammate Karim Benzema, who was building his case to be top scorer having scored four goals in four games for Les Bleus before their shock round-of-16 shootout elimination by Switzerland. Benzema is just one of the big hitters who could feasibly have been contenders for Euro 2020’s top scorer, only to leave the tournament early.
Robert Lewandowski is arguably the finest out-and-out striker on the planet, but he was only able to amass three goals before his inclusion ended with Poland finishing bottom of Group E with just one point from three games.
You’d have got decent odds on Sweden’s Emil Forsberg finishing as top scorer before the tournament, but he came close to usurping Ronaldo at the top of the tree with four goals in as many appearances before Ukraine ended his country’s hopes in the round of 16.
Playing as a free-roaming midfielder, Georginio Wijnaldum managed to score three goals in four games before Netherlands came unstuck against the Czech Republic at the same stage.
So Ronaldo remains top of the ranking outright on goals scored. Should two or more players end the tournament at the top of the chart on the same number of goals, UEFA will use assists as a tie-breaker, then fewest minutes played and finally goals scored in qualifying if necessary to declare a winner.
Here are the goal-scoring stats for the players still active at the tournament who are best placed to overtake Ronaldo with potentially three matches still to play, as well as the record of the current leader.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Juventus)
Cristiano Ronaldo was top scorer at the Nations League finals in 2019, and ended last season as Serie A’s Capocannoniere. Tibor Illyes – Pool/Getty Images
Minutes played (appearances): 360 (4)
Minutes per goal: 72
Goals in qualifying: 11
Shots (on target): 16 (8)
Next opponent: Eliminated
Four of Ronaldo’s five goals at Euro 2020 came from the penalty spot. His two late spot kicks put the gloss on Portugal’s opening 3-0 win against Hungary, before another two sealed a 2-2 draw with France that ensured the defending champions progressed to the knockout phase. Between those, however, was a a stunning effort in the 4-2 loss against Germany in which he sprinted the length of the pitch to round off a rapid counter-attack.
🇨🇿 4 goals in 4 #EURO2020 games for Czech Republic star Patrik Schick! 🔥@Alipay | #EUROTopScorer pic.twitter.com/ToJjg7kC8s
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) June 27, 2021
Minutes played (appearances): 325 (4)
Minutes per goal: 81.2
Goals in qualifying: 4
Shots (on target): 13 (8)
Next opponent: Denmark in Baku, July 3 at 12 p.m. ET (LIVE on ESPN and ESPN+ in the U.S.)
The current frontrunner to overtake Ronaldo, Schick kicked things off by scoring twice in the Czech Republic’s Group D opener against Scotland — the second being a strong goal-of-the-tournament contender from all of 50 yards. The 25-year-old then scored a penalty against Croatia followed by another against Netherlands in the round of 16 to maintain his impressive 1:1 goal-to-game ratio. A breakout star of Euro 2020 already, Schick is also in pole position to cement his credentials with a top-scorer award should he maintain his formidable goal-scoring form.
🌟 The goals keep coming for Belgium sharpshooter Romelu Lukaku 🎯@Heineken | #EUROSOTM | #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/zEB6MLbHIQ
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) June 12, 2021
Minutes played (appearances): 354 (4)
Minutes per goal: 118
Goals in qualifying: 7
Shots (on target): 9 (4)
Next opponent: Italy in Munich, July 2 at 3 p.m. ET (LIVE on ESPN and ESPN+ in the U.S.)
Lukaku has been in stellar form at Euro 2020; leading the line with purpose, breaking upfield at speed, carrying the ball superbly and providing some of the best link-up play we’ve seen at the tournament so far. The striker has also weighed in with three goals, a running total that he’s almost certain to add to as the competition goes on if the Red Devils live up to their billing as the No.1 ranked side in the world.
Seferović smooth turn and rip 🎯 pic.twitter.com/e4IiMxkxIl
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 20, 2021
Minutes played (appearances): 301 (4)
Minutes per goal: 100.3
Goals in qualifying: 1
Shots (on target): 12 (5)
Next opponent: Spain in St Petersburg, July 2 at 12 p.m. ET (LIVE on ESPN and ESPN+ in the U.S.)
A surprise package who seems to have crept up the scoring chart without much in the way of fanfare, Seferovic scored two headers in normal time as Switzerland defied the odds to dump favourites France out of the competition. Added to his earlier goal against Turkey in the group stage, the 29-year-old striker has an excellent strike rate at the tournament, with his three goals coming from just five shots on target.
ENGLAND GOES WILD 🏴🦁 pic.twitter.com/0GOz8ZRPC4
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 29, 2021
Minutes played (appearances): 336 (4)
Minutes per goal: 112
Goals in qualifying: 8
Shots (on target): 7 (4)
Next opponent: Ukraine in Rome, July 3 at 3 p.m. ET (LIVE on ESPN and ESPN+ in the U.S.)
Gareth Southgate’s side may have made cautious progress through the group stage but there was still room for Sterling to shine. The nimble forward scored the only goal in each of England’s 1-0 wins against Croatia and Czech Republic in Group D. Along with a point earned from their dour 0-0 draw against Scotland, Sterling’s goals propelled England through to the round of 16, where another inspirational goal from the Wembley local boy helped dispose of long-time tournament nemesis Germany. If he keeps this up for another round or three, Sterling could well find himself taking the outside lane to Golden Boot glory as well as national hero status.
Alvaro Morata (Spain/Juventus, on loan from Atletico Madrid)
THIS GAME IS OUT OF CONTROL 🚀 pic.twitter.com/LQ9iAMWy75
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 28, 2021
Minutes played (appearances): 339 (4)
Minutes per goal: 169.5
Goals in qualifying: 4
Shots (on target): 14 (8)
Next opponent: Switzerland
Morata has shown glimpses of his capability as the focal point of Spain’s attacking line. His doubters will still point to the abundance of chances that have gone begging, but coach Luis Enrique’s faith in him has been rewarded. However hit and miss he may be, Morata has proven that when he hits, he hits hard — the perfect example being his brilliant close control and high-calibre finish against Croatia in the round of 16, one of the best goals of the tournament so far.
Cheeky backheel by Ferran Torres 😍😍’
He scored with his first touch of the game 😅 pic.twitter.com/1NY5W2ms9u
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 23, 2021
Minutes played (appearances): 215 (4)
Minutes per goal: 107.5
Goals in qualifying: 0
Shots (on target): 5 (3)
Next opponent: Switzerland
With 10 goals in their last two games (against Slovakia and Croatia), several of Spain’s forward players have been able to get in on the act. Torres has yet to play a full 90 minutes for La Roja at Euro 2020 but is still in the mix after chipping in during two separate five-goal routs. Whether this means he’s in the habit of being ruthlessly efficient in front of goal or just in the right place at the right time against shell-shocked opponents remains to be seen. In fairness, that backheeled flick against Slovakia was a delightful bit of business.
Minutes played (appearances): 207 (4)
Minutes per goal: 103.5
Goals in qualifying: 1
Shots (on target): 8 (4)
Next opponent: Switzerland
As with Torres, Sarabia has capitalised by pitching in with goals during dizzying routs against the comparatively porous defences of Slovakia and Croatia, although he has also registered a pair of assists. Sterner tests of his ability to find the back of the net lie ahead, though a 1: 2 goal-to-game ratio at a major tournament is nothing to be sniffed at.
ITALY LEAD 2-0! 🇮🇹
Ciro Immobile with his first goal of #EURO2020 💥 pic.twitter.com/osQAfxYBMr
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 11, 2021
Minutes played (appearances): 255 (3)
Minutes per goal: 127.5
Goals in qualifying: 3
Shots (on target): 13 (3)
Next opponent: Belgium
While midfielders Matteo Pessina and Manuel Locatelli have both scored twice in three appearances for Italy at Euro 2020 so far, Immobile is Italy’s first-choice centre-forward and therefore the one most likely to keep rising further up the goal charts. The 31-year-old has worked tirelessly to lead the line for the Azzurri, covering more ground (30.6 kilometres) than all but four of his teammates, despite being rested for the final group game against Wales. For all his toil, Immobile wasn’t able to increase his goal haul against Austria in the round of 16 (though he did hit the woodwork) but with 150 goals notched up for Lazio in the last five years, it would be foolish to count him out of the running just yet.
Kasper Dolberg💥#ForDanmark #EURO2020 #DEN pic.twitter.com/oc025EB1Wd
— DBU – En Del Af Noget Større (@DBUfodbold) June 28, 2021
Minutes played (appearances): 99 (2)
Minutes per goal: 49.5
Goals in qualifying: 2
Shots (on target): 4 (3)
Next opponent: Czech Republic
Limited to one substitute appearance at the tournament before his impressive two-goal showing against Wales in the round of 16, Dolberg may well have earned another starting berth in the quarterfinals. Who knows? If he can repeat his heroics against the Czech Republic, the 23-year-old — who has a better goals-per-minute ratio than Ronaldo — might just position himself for an outside shot.
🤩🏆 Presenting the Top Scorer trophy for #EURO2020!
Designed by @Alipay and powered by @AntChain, the trophy uses blockchain technology and will ensure the #EUROtopscorer is permanently honoured.
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) June 10, 2021
The trophy that the Euro 2020 top scorer will ultimately receive for outscoring everybody else come the end of the tournament is worthy of a mention.
The award is of the same design as the one given to Cristiano Ronaldo for finishing as top scorer at the 2019 Nations League finals. The trophy features a stylised sculpture of a barefooted footballer whose body is contorted into the shape of the Chinese character “支” (pronounced “zhi“) which means both “payment” and “support.”
This is because the award is sponsored by digital payment company Alipay, who have vowed to upload the Euro 2020 top goal-scorer’s performance data via blockchain to create a permanent, incorruptible digital record of their tournament achievements.