In most occasion, finals hero were the ones savouring the limelight in every football match. Meanwhile, the person led them took the credit of bringing the team into a powerhouse one. Some of the most memorable wins in the Euro history was led by some of the most known captains in football. Here is every winning captain that led their teams through the finals of every European Championship:
EURO 2000: Didier Deschamps (France)
France followed up their 1998 World Cup win to become World and European champions. Midfielder Didier Deschamps is the first captain to lift these major tournament trophies and become the first Frenchman to reach a century of international caps. Deschamps is also a UEFA Champions League winner and three-time domestic champion with both Marseille and Juventus.
Deschamps started his international career in what was a dark time for the French team as they failed to qualify for the World Cup in both 1990 and 1994, also suffering a first-round elimination at UEFA Euro 1992. He helped France step-up and clinch the missed the titles. He then retired in the middle of 2001, only 32 years old. He has been manager of the France national team since 2012.
EURO 2004: Theodoros Zagorakis (Greece)
One of the glorious moments in the European Championship history is the win of Greece for the first time since 1980, the nation’s maiden appearance in the tournament. TheodorosZagorakis led the team in this momentous day. He is Greece’s most effective player in the final and later hailed as Player of the tournament by UEFA and consequently he was in the Team of the Tournament.
Zagorakis received his first cap for Greece in 1994 against the Faroe Islands. He retired in 2007 with 120 caps: his only major club honour was a Greek Cup victory with AEK Athens in 2002. He is a politician, elected as a Greek MEP at the May 2014 European Parliament election. Several MP’s said that Zagorakis was elected in European Parliament to represent Greece, not PAOK.
EURO 2008 & 2012: Iker Casillas (Spain)
The 2008 and 2012 edition of the European Championship saw Spain, with the effective leadership of Iker Casillas,becoming the first team to win two consecutive European Championships. Spain ended their trophy drought in the 2008 edition of the tournament as they took on Germany in the finals, while their 4-0 win against Italy in Euro 2012 is the biggest ever win in the final of the Euro.
Goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata sparked wild celebrations across Spain, sweeping away the clouds of an economic crisis that has engulfed the south European nation. Captain Iker Casillas was the major instrument in uniting the then divided team, merging players for FC Barcelona and Real Madrid into one team. He also blocked important goals from the opponents.
EURO 2016: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
For the first time, the European Championship final tournament was contested by 24 teams, having been expanded from the 16-team format used since 1996. Portugal won their maiden trophy, following an extra time victory over the host team, France, in the final played at the Stade de France. They are the current champions of the tournament to defend their title next year.
Cristiano Ronaldo is in the peak of his career and quest for glory during this time. Although not the key person to net the winning goal, Ronaldo was the captain of Portugal’s surprise winners of Euro 2016. Ronaldo, who has now scored 98 goals for his country, will lead them again next year and will also have the chance to become only the second man in history to reach 100 international goals.