Euro 2016: The final hurrah

first_imgThe upcoming UEFA European Championship 2016 is sure to make or break a few careers with young footballers getting a chance to showcase their skills on the world stage. But for a certain list of players, the tournament might be their final hurrah. (Everything you need to know about Euro 2016 host cities)The ageing players – legends in their own right – will get one final shot at glory when the quadrennial event begins in France on June 10. The list mostly consists of goalkeepers who are on the wrong end of the thirties. (New finalists, familiar title contenders at expanded Euro 2016)Iker Casillas (35), SpainIker Casillas is one of the most decorated footballers in history and the longest serving player for Spain. During his heydays, the goalkeeper was also known as ‘Saint Iker’. He is the sixth most-capped player of all time in international football with 166 appearances and under his captaincy, Spain went on to win their first ever FIFA World Cup in 2010 and twice clinched the UEFA European Championship in 2008 and 2012. In club football – Casillas, 35, played for Real Madrid for a record sixteen seasons to become the second most capped player for the club after Raul. He won five La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey titles and three UEFA Champions League trophies to name a few with the Spanish giants. Casillas, who currently plays for FC Porto, was a part of the UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament in 2012. (Euro 2016: Golden chance for young players to shine)advertisementGigi Buffon and Iker Casillas both might be playing in their final European Championship. (Reuters Photo) Gianluigi Buffon (38), ItalyConsidered to be one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon is the most capped player in the history of Italian football with 156 caps. He made his debut for his national side at the age of 19 in 1997 and the rest they say is history. The 38-year-old won the Yashin Award as the best goalkeeper in the 2006 FIFA World Cup which Italy won. He set a World Cup record during the tournament by conceding just two goals in seven matches with five clean sheets. He took over the captaincy from Fabio Cannavaro in 2011 and created yet another record in the Euro 2012 qualifiers by going 644 minutes without conceding a goal. Italy were eventually beaten 4-0 by Spain in the tournament final but Buffon was elected in the Team of the Tournament thanks to his performances.Zlatan Ibrahimovic (34), SwedenZlatan ibrahimovic celebrates a goal for Sweden in his trademark style. (Reuters Photo)Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the most well-known football player to come out of his country and is one of the most expensive players in club football. He is the all-time leading goal-scorer for Sweden and has represented top football clubs like Barcelona, Ajax, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan during his illustrious career. He is also the highest-scorer for Paris Saint-Germain, the club he recently parted ways with. Ibrahimovic was in terrific form in the Euro 2016 qualifiers and almost single-handedly guided his country into the main draw. He scored 11 goals in total to finish as the second-highest scorer in the qualifiers after Poland’s Robert Lewandowski. Zlatan was also a part of the UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament in 2012.Gabor Kiraly (40), HungaryHungary’s star goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly will be the oldest player to appear in the Euro 2016 in France. Kiraly, 40, made his international debut in 1998 and has since played in over 100 matches for Hungary. In club football, he spent most of his career playing for Hertha BSC and appeared in 198 games for the German club. In the Premier League, he has played for clubs like Crystal Palace, Fulham, West Ham United and Aston Villa. Kiraly is also known as a trendsetter for goalkeepers and wears grey trackpants instead of shorts in most of the matches that he plays.Robbie Keane (35), Republic of IrelandIreland great Robbie Keane is the all-time leading goal-scorer and the most-capped player for his country with 143 appearances. Keane became the highest international scorer among active players with 67 goals, following the retirement of Germany’s Miroslav Klose in 2014. He is also the all-time top-scorer in European Championship qualification matches. In the English Premier League, Keane played for clubs like Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Leeds United, West Ham United and Aston Villa. He scored 126 goals in the league and currently plays for Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy.last_img read more