The Greatest European Championships XI Ever


The European Championships have been graced by some of the world's greatest footballers over the years.

With Euro 2012 less than a day away, we've picked the Greatest XI to have played in Europe's biggest international competition.

We've gone with an unconventional, yet marvelously European, 4-1-2-1 formation to accomodate some of the greats, and our first name on the teamsheet is Denmark's Peter Schmeichel, who was voted as the best goalkeeper in the world after helping his nation to the 1992 title.

Across the defence we have the terrifying Claudio Gentile who made the 1980 Team of the Tournament, Laurent Blanc who won the title with France in 2000 and Franz Beckenbauer, who is widely regarded as the best European defender ever. At left-back is the evergreen Paolo Maldini who played about 6,000 Euro games.

Spain's talisman Xavi holds the midfield together with the mercurial Michel Platini - who won the 1984 tournament on his own -  and Pavel Nedved who almost singled handedly took the Czech Republic to the final and semis in 1996 and 2004 respectively. 

In front of them is Zinedine Zidane, who carried France in 2000 with what is arguably the greatest individual tournament performance. Zidane plays in the hole behind Germany's Gerd Muller, who scored four goals in two games as his side won the 1972 title and Marco van Basten - scorer of the greatest European Championship goal of all time. 

Peter Schmeichel
(Denmark)

Claudio Gentile
(Italy)

Laurent Blanc
(France)

Franz Beckenbauer
(Germany)

Paolo Maldini
(Italy)

Xavi
(Spain)

Michel Platini
(France)

Pavel Nedved
(Czech Republic)

Zinedine Zidane
(France)

Gerd Muller
(Germany)

Marco van Basten
(Holland)