Euro 2020 will inevitably launch a new set of heroes into the footballing stratosphere.
International tournaments simply wouldn’t be international tournaments if they didn’t play host to players who were never expected to set the world alight becoming the unlikely men of the hour.
However, there have been countless examples over the years with the FIFA World Cup providing us with cult heroes such as Roger Milla, Oleg Salenko, Saeed Al-Owairan and Siphiwe Tshabalala.
Euros cult heroes
The Euros have been no different either, so ahead of the first instalment in half a decade, we couldn’t resist looking back on some of the players who the streets will never forget.
We’re keeping things modern because there is only so much we can claim to know about who took on cult status between the 1960s and 1980s, so Euro 1996 is the earliest we’re going back here.
But other than that, there are no rules beyond the fact that the streets will never forget these 19 players for the joy and entertainment they brought us at European Championships.
England Squad Announcement (Football Terrace)
Streets will never forget
1. Milan Baroš
Who won the Golden at Euro 2004 – Wayne Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo? Nope, it was Baroš and the streets won’t forget it.
2. Karel Poborský
Poborský was so spectacular at Euro 1996 that he earned himself a Manchester United move – albeit one that saw him flop – and who could possibly forget his lobbed goal against Portugal?!
3. Savo Milošević
The former Aston Villa man had the Midas touch at Euro 2000, eventually sharing the Golden Boot with Patrick Kluivert after finding the net against Slovenia, Spain and the Netherlands.
4. Nuno Gomes
Need we justify this beyond Gomes playing in the bright red and green of Portugal’s Euro 2004 kit with his long, slick and flowing black hair? I bet you can picture it already.
5. Jordi Alba
Alba might not be an obscure player by any means, but the streets will never forget his breakout tournament in 2012 and the majestic individual goal he scored against Italy in the final.
6. Kolbeinn Sigþórsson
Just ask Joe Hart when it comes to this one.
7. Andrey Arshavin
Before the days of smashing home four goals at Anfield in an Arsenal shirt, Arshavin was setting the world alight for Russia with an astonishing individual tournament at Euro 2008. Unforgettable.
8. Zlatko Zahovič
Could anything possibly sound more ‘streets will never forget’ than a player thrusting themselves into the Golden Boot race despite playing for a Slovenia team that finished bottom of their group?
9. Angelos Charisteas
To be honest, we could easily have selected the entire Greece team – though, fear not, there is still another to come – but none are more iconic than Charisteas and his dramatic winner in the final.
10. Marcos Senna
Before there was Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Sergio Busquets, there was Iniesta, Xavi and Senna. Anyone who watched Euro 2008 will remember the Villarreal icon’s galvanising performances.
11. Stefan Kuntz
We have no idea why the streets will never forget him. No clue. Moving on.
12. Alan Dzagoev
For the briefest of seconds, it looked as though every top European club wanted to sign Dzagoev for a crazy goalscoring spree at Euro 2012 that ended as quickly and unexpected as it had started.
13. Dimitri Payet
A rare breed of player who won’t be forgotten by the streets either in the Premier League or the Euros with the former West Ham United man looking like a world beater for France in 2016.
Sure, he might have built on his penalty antics at the following World Cup, but Ricardo whipping off his gloves to deny Darius Vassell and score a winning spot-kick was pure theatre.
15. Jakub Błaszczykowski
When it comes to the Euros, Błaszczykowski loves scoring a screamer and he deserves his place on the list for scoring absolute beauties against Russia, Ukraine and Poland over the years.
16. Renato Sanches
Voted the best young player at Euro 2016, Sanches is perhaps only held back from being a top tier ‘streets will never forget’ star for the fact he’s, well, actually been superb for Lille recently.
17. Theodoros Zagorakis
With a Man of the Match performance in the final to bag the Player of the Tournament award when nobody could possibly have predicted it, I think we should all bow down to the throne of Zagorakis.
18. Hamit Altıntop
Turkey were a serious force to be reckoned with at Euro 2008 and Altıntop’s dazzling displays earned him a deserved spot in the Team of the Tournament.
19. Hal Robson-Kanu
A dramatic winning goal against Slovakia was pretty special by itself, but the streets will never forget Robson-Kanu for that turn and finish past the Belgians first and foremost.
So many memories, am I right? Ok, fair enough, it might depend on your generation as to which names brought back a flood of wild celebrations from Euro 1996 all the way up to last time out.
But even if you couldn’t remember half the names on the list, don’t panic, because the streets have done the job for you. I’ll see myself out..