Football Features

The top 10 best forwards at Euro 2020: “He’s currently better than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi”

By Harry Edwards

Published: 16:34, 3 June 2021 | Updated: 14:00, 29 June 2021

Over six hundred of the continent’s best players will head to Euro 2020, spread across 24 squads.

But who are the best? The talents really worth tuning in for or, if you plan on taking part in FanTeam’s Euro 2020 fantasy football game, considering for your own 15-player squad? We pored over FanTeam’s roster of players categorised as forwards to pick out the top 10.

A couple quick notes to readers before we get started. Firstly, all figures from qualifying exclude play-offs and Nations League fixtures. Secondly, certain players, (e.g. Jadon Sancho) are excluded not for reasons of ability, but because they fall into the ‘midfielder’ classification on FanTeam. They will instead be considered for the midfielders piece.

Otherwise, feel free to let us know what we got wrong or your own top 10 on Twitter.

10. Burak Yilmaz (Lille/Turkey)

  • FanTeam price: 4.5M
  • Goals in qualifying: 1 goal, 7 appearances
  • Group stage opponents (with goals conceded in qualifying): Italy (4), Wales (6), Switzerland (6)

The hero of Lille’s title-winning side, Burak Yilmaz netted 16 goals in 28 Ligue 1 games to finish as his side’s top-scorer. There were some massive ones, too, especially his brace in a 3-2 win over Lyon to help Lille come from two goals down. Oh, and he assisted the other goal in that match. A real big-game player.

He has been turning up for Turkey, too, having bagged a hat-trick in their recent 4-2 World Cup qualifying win over the Netherlands. Yilmaz is perhaps among the best budget options for Fantasy Football players, especially as Turkey avoided a Group of Death scenario (unlike Hungary) and are candidates to be Euro 2020’s ‘dark horse’.

9. Andre Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt/Portugal)

  • FanTeam price: 6.5M
  • Goals in qualifying: 0 goals, 3 appearances
  • Group stage opponents (with goals conceded in qualifying): Hungary (11), Germany (7), France (6)

If it wasn’t for a certain monster goal-machine (more on him in a bit), Andre Silva would have finished the 2020/21 Bundesliga campaign as top-scorer. The Portuguese forward netted 28 goals in 32 Bundesliga games for Eintracht Frankfurt at an average of 0.91 per 90 minutes, a return only bettered by five players.

Silva’s role in the Portugal team is different to his one at Eintracht, where he is the leading striker, but he has still managed a good return for his country, with 16 goals in 38 games.

8. Gerard Moreno (Villarreal/Spain)

  • FanTeam price: 8M
  • Goals in qualifying: 3 goals, 3 appearances
  • Group stage opponents (with goals conceded in qualifying): Sweden (9), Poland (5), Slovakia (11)

Gerard Moreno was Villarreal’s goalscorer in the 2021 Europa League final as they beat Manchester United, which capped what has been a fantastic season for the Spaniard.

In 46 games across all competitions, Moreno scored 30 goals including the aforementioned Europa League final strike and 23 in La Liga. His chances for Spain have been few and far between (he has made it to the age of 29 with just 10 caps), but he has managed five goals in that time and scored on his most recent appearance against Kosovo in March. One of the best mid-level budget buys on FanTeam.

7. Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich/Germany)

  • FanTeam price: 8.5M
  • Goals in qualifying:
  • Group stage opponents (with goals conceded in qualifying): France (6), Portugal (6), Hungary (11)

At the start of 2021, there were no guarantees that Thomas Muller would be in Germany’s squad for the Euros. The 31-year-old was in excellent form for Bayern but hadn’t played for Germany since just after the 2018 World Cup as Joachim Low had started looking to the future.

However, Muller made it hard to ignore him, ending the Bundesliga campaign with 18 assists. No player in Europe’s top five leagues was close to him, with Muller assisting four more than anyone else. It helped Bayern secure the Bundesliga title and earned him his Germany return.

6. Harry Kane (Spurs/England)

  • FanTeam price: 13.5M
  • Goals in qualifying: 12 goals, 8 appearances
  • Group stage opponents (with goals conceded in qualifying): Croatia (7), Scotland (19), Czech Republic (11)

Next up behind Muller for assists in Europe’s top five leagues was Harry Kane, on 14. And setting up goals isn’t even the Tottenham man’s main responsibility. Those 14 assists in the Premier League were joined by 23 goals, as Kane finished the campaign with both the Golden Boot and Playmaker Award.

Naturally, in the Premier League, no player was directly involved more goals than Kane’s 37, but he also led the way for shots (137) and shots on target (53).

For England, Kane is in good form, scoring in two of his three appearances this year. As the Three Lions’ penalty taker, he’ll likely have more opportunities to rack up the goals this summer.

He’s the most expensive player on FanTeam (13.5M) but probably the best pick for strikers in the game as, based on goals conceded figures from qualifying, he is going up against the softest selection of defences at Euro 2020.

5. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Portugal)

  • FanTeam price: 10M
  • Goals in qualifying: 11 goals, 8 appearances
  • Group stage opponents (with goals conceded in qualifying): Hungary (11), Germany (7), France (6)

The man who will be leading the line ahead of Andre Silva for Portugal this summer, Cristiano Ronaldo goes into Euro 2020 in hot form. Although Juventus could not reclaim their Serie A crown, Ronaldo scored 29 goals to secure his first Capocannoniere (Italy’s top scorer award).

Like Kane, Ronaldo’s goalscoring exploits came from the Portuguese’ productivity in working chances to score. He took more shots (168) and hit the target more times (69) than any other player in Serie A. Ronaldo also enters Euro 2020 chasing history, with Iranian Ali Daei (109) the only man ever to have scored more international goals than him (103).

4. Romelu Lukaku (Inter/Belgium)

  • FanTeam price: 11.5M
  • Goals in qualifying: 7 goals, 5 appearances
  • Group stage opponents (with goals conceded in qualifying): Russia (8), Denmark (6), Finland (10)

Five goals behind Ronaldo in Serie A was Romelu Lukaku, who had a phenomenal season leading Inter Milan to their first league title in a decade. Only once has Lukaku scored more league goals in a single season as the 24 he managed for Inter (25 for Everton in 2016/17), but the Belgian added assists to his game too, creating 11 goals. In Serie A, only one player recorded more assists than Lukaku, and no player boasted a better total of those two combined.

As the nation’s all-time top goalscorer with 59 goals in 91 caps, Lukaku is already a bit of an all-time great for Belgium, too. He’ll add to that figure this summer.

3. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/France)

  • FanTeam price: 10M
  • Goals in qualifying:
  • Group stage opponents (with goals conceded in qualifying): Germany (7), Hungary (11), Portugal (6)

Another recall from the international wilderness but, unlike Muller, Karim Benzema had to wait six years for his return to the France set-up.

However, like Muller, Benzema made it near impossible for Didier Deschamps not to pick him after an excellent season for Real Madrid. Still thriving as the club’s focal point, Benzema ended the 2020/21 La Liga campaign with 23 goals and nine assists, meaning he either finished or set up just under half of Real Madrid’s 67 strikes.

2. Kylian Mbappe (PSG/France)

  • FanTeam price: 13M
  • Goals in qualifying: 3 goals, 5 appearances
  • Group stage opponents (with goals conceded in qualifying): Germany (7), Hungary (11), Portugal (6)

Joining Benzema in the French attack will be one of the best players in the world, let alone one of the best forwards in Europe. The ceiling is non-existent for Kylian Mbappe, who won Ligue 1’s Golden Boot for the third consecutive season.

He finished the season on 27 goals this time around, taking his career senior tally to 159 in 231 in terms of club football alone. On the international stage, Mbappe has been slightly more subdued, with 16 goals in 42 games, but let’s remember he is only 22 and has scored in a World Cup final. Just as he did at that tournament three years ago, he’ll make Euro 2020 his.

1. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Poland)

  • FanTeam price: 9M
  • Goals in qualifying: 5 goals, 10 appearances
  • Group stage opponents (with goals conceded in qualifying): Slovakia (11), Spain (5), Sweden (9)

Robert Lewandowski is the world’s best forward right now. There’s no debating this. Some even argue he is the world’s best player, period. “He is currently better than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi,” said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge earlier this month.

The Polish striker was always good, but he took his game to a record-breaking high in 2020/21 in helping Bayern Munich retain the Bundesliga.

In 29 Bundesliga appearances, Lewandowski scored 41 goals. FORTY. ONE. No player in Bundesliga history has managed more in a single campaign; Lewandowski broke Gerd Muller’s record of 40 that many thought would stand forever. He is in the form of his life, and Poland’s hopes rest on him this summer.