Euro 2024

Euro 2024 Player of the Tournament Tips: Picks from 9/1 to 40/1

Bruno Fernandes & Bernardo Silva
Bruno can lead Portugal to glory

Dave Tindall looks into past Euros and current stats to find the best bets in the Player of the Tournament market...


Betfair are offering customers a chance to earn a free bet each time the side they back to win Euro 2024 (£10 stake) scores a goal during the group stages. Do you opt for a side who is likely to go deep, like France, or, is your faith in a Portugal side who banged in 36 goals in 10 qualifying matches?

Romelu Lukaku is toward the top of the Golden Boot market after finishing the qualifying campaign as the top scorer with 14 goals - that was 64% of Belgium's 22 goals, so could he and the Red Devils be the side to back with the offer in mind?

Perhaps it is an outsider you fancy to surprise us all - like the much fancied Austria, Hungary or Ukraine, and a few goals in their opening three games could well pay you back for your faith in them before the tournament, and hope their big price takes you all the way!

Make sure you opt-in on the Betfair Sportsbook before the opening game and place a £10 bet (or £5 EW) in the Winner market to qualify!


The Player of the Tournament was first officially awarded in Euro '96. However, UEFA have listed their best player since 1984 so it makes sense to use that as the starting point.

First up, let's look at all those 10 winners, their position, who they played for and their goal tally.

1984 Michel Platini (Midfielder) France (winners) - 9 goals (top scorer by 6)
1988 Marco van Basten (Attacker) Netherlands (winners) - 5 goals (top scorer by 3)
1992 Peter Schmeichel (Goalkeeper) Denmark (winners) - 0 goals
1996 Matthias Sammer (Midfield) Germany (winners) - 2 goals (Joint 6th top scorer)
2000 Zinedine Zidane (Attacker) France (winners) - 2 goals (Joint 7th top scorer)
2004 Theodoros Zagorakis (Midfielder) Greece (winners) - 0 goals
2008 Xavi (Midfielder) Spain (winners) - 1 goal
2012 Andres Iniesta (Midfielder) Spain (winners) - 0 goals
2016 Antoine Griezmann (Attacker) France (runners-up, hosts) - 6 goals (top scorer by 3)
2020 Gianluigi Donnarumma (Goalkeeper) Italy (winners) - 0 goals

Summary

You can argue over how attacking some of the midfielders were but there's basically only one out-and-out striker and that's Van Basten. Griezmann played behind Olivier Giroud.

9 of the 10 played for the winning side
5 were midfielders, 3 were attackers, 2 were goalkeepers
3 were top goalscorers, all winning the Golden Boot by at least 3 goals
2 were captains - Platini (1984), Zagorakis (2004)

The main takeaway is that if you can pick the winning side, you're virtually there in terms of finding the Player of the Tournament.

In addition, there's a good chance he'll be an extremely well-known, world-class midfielder but won't particularly need to score lots of goals or be captain.

Who fits the bill?

Well, firstly, we need to list the likely winners of the tournament.

In betting order that's 3/14.00 England, 7/24.50 France, 4/15.00 Germany, 7/18.00 Spain, Portugal, 16/117.00 Belgium, 18/119.00 Italy, Netherlands.

Denmark (1992) and Greece (2004) show outsiders can triumph but the best strategy is to pick players from the biggest teams.


Jude Bellingham @ 9/110.00

At 9/110.00 Bellingham is slightly shorter in the betting than 11/112.00 Harry Kane and I'd say that's about right as the Real Madrid man has the perfect make-up to win this market.

As noted above, history points to midfielders over centre-forwards and Kane is less likely to catch the eye if his goals are cheap tap-ins or penalties.

By contrast, Bellingham has the star quality to do a bit of everything: score, assist, make key passes, win tackles, dictate the tempo of England's attacking play. Even whipping up the crowd - something he loves to do - secures air time.

Without doubt, the 20-year-old turns heads and gets himself noticed. And he's good at winning awards that are voted on by panels - as this one is.

Take the last two seasons. In 2022/23, he was named the Bundesliga Player of the Season. And ahead of the recent Champions League final, Bellingham was voted La Liga's Player of the Season. He beat off stiff competition in both.

Looking at his numbers in Spain, Bellingham scored 19 times and had eight assists in his 28 league games. In all comps, it was 23 goals and 12 assists.

For England, he's scored twice in his last five matches and, as stated, a couple of goals along with general overall excellence is enough to win Player of the Tournament.

It's also worth mentioning that Bellingham has twice officially been voted Man of the Match in two of his last five England games: the 3-1 victories over Scotland (scored) and Italy (didn't score).

Even within this array of attacking and eye-catching talent at Gareth Southgate's disposal, the Madrid man is often England's standout performer.

So, if the Three Lions do lift the trophy (or perhaps just reach the final), there's a very good chance Bellingham will have played a huge part and be recognised for it.

The negative and concern for England fans is fatigue. He didn't look at his best in the Champions League final (although he did get an assist) and may have been a little leggy towards the end of the La Liga campaign.

Southgate Kane.jpg

Thankfully, Southgate is giving him time off ahead of the Euros to see family and recharge the batteries and that could make all the difference.

At 20-years-old and fueled by becoming a Champions League winner, Bellingham can hopefully ride the wave of energy, enthusiasm and adrenaline to be the tournament's standout star.


Antoine Griezmann @ 22/123.00

France's Antoine Griezmann 22/123.00 has already won this award once and stands out in the list at the top of the page as the only player to have done so while not on the tournament's winning side.

Playing for the host nation and scoring six goals - three more than anyone else in Euro 2016 - was obviously a huge factor.

But being famous also helps and Griezemann is surely only second to Kylian Mbappe in the French icon stakes.

Mbappe obviously has great claims himself at 7/18.00 (he's the market leader) and was voted runner-up to Lionel Messi in the World Cup Player of the Tournament in 2022.

But at over three times the price, Griezmann at 22/123.00 is surely the value in a French team that has outstanding claims to lift the trophy.

Griezmann dropped back into midfield to great effect in the Qatar World Cup but that wouldn't dim his appeal in this market given the make-up of past winners.

Didier Deschamps has an array of midfield and attacking talent but he'll always find a space in the XI for one of his most reliable and creative performers.

Looking at Whoscored.com's player ratings for La Liga last season, Griezmann ranked sixth with an average score of 7.23. In his third last game of the campaign he was given a whopping 9.25 after a hat-trick away to Getafe.

Of the La Liga players heading to the Euros, Griezmann ranks third behind Isco of Spain at two and Jude Bellingham at No.1.


Bruno Fernandes @ 40/141.00

So far, that's a player each from the two tournament favourites.

If looking at other options from England and France, Mbappe would obviously be right up there while Phil Foden at 12/113.00 makes some appeal.

However, I think Declan Rice is more interesting at 33/134.00. Unlike Foden, he's a nailed-on starter for every game and was one of Arsenal's very best performers week in, week out this season.

The niggle is that he may just have to do more donkey work than is ideal given England's lack of options in central/defensive midfield.

Toni Kroos at 16/117.00 is definitely another to consider given the role he plays and his worldwide fame.

After some years in the wilderness, hosts Germany are a big danger on home soil and Kroos coming out of international retirement to help them to the title is exactly the sort of storyline that would get him votes.

But, for a third pick, I can't get past Bruno Fernandes.

Ronaldo_Fernandes_Portugal.jpg

Here's the quick argument: he's the captain and best player at one of the most famous club sides on the planet and his national team Portugal are just 7/18.00 to win the trophy.

Winners in 2016 and runners-up in 2004, the Portuguese have real pedigree in this tournament and another big run is expected from a side that has reached the knockout stages in the last seven editions. No-one else can claim such a record.

A group featuring Turkey, Czech Republic and Georgia should be straightforward enough and current boss Roberto Martinez will be more attack-minded than somewhat dour past Portuguese coaches. That will help Fernandes shine.

So why is he 40s?

The obvious argument is what we could call the 'Ronaldo problem'.

Cristiano Ronaldo is Portugal's top dog and that's reflected in CR7's price of 20/121.00.

He'll hog penalties and free-kicks and there's always been a feeling that Fernandes' influence is diminished when Ronaldo is on the scene.

Ronaldo scored 10 goals in qualifying so can still rack up the numbers, although five came in ties against Liechtenstein and Luxembourg. There's no such fodder at the finals.

At 39, can he still do it in a major tournament where the games come thick and fast? A single goal in World Cup 2022 suggests maybe not and, in truth, Portugal looked a better unit when he was left out in Qatar.

It's easy to think that Ronaldo simply has to be Player of the Tournament if Portugal win but he didn't get the gong when they triumphed in 2016 (limping off in the final didn't help) and his influence could wane the further Portugal go if his legs tire further.

Fernandes scored six goals and racked up eight assists in qualifying - more than anyone else - while he also laid on three goals for teammates in the 2022 World Cup.

He managed 10 goals and eight assists in Manchester United's poor Premier League campaign and ranked eighth in the Premier League's Whoscored.com rankings this season.

For the record, the top seven in order were Bukayo Saka, Rodri, Michael Olise, Phil Foden, Cole Palmer, Eberechi Eze and Erling Haaland. Rice was ninth.

Fernandes scored twice in Portugal's 4-2 friendly win over Finland in Lisbon earlier this week (June 4) although it should be said that Ronaldo was being wrapped in cotton wool and didn't play.

At the end of the day it comes down to price. Fernandes is one of the standout names at this tournament and is highly influential in a side that could win. Take the 40s.


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