After his double against Gibraltar lifted Robbie Keane within three goals of Cristiano Ronaldo, UEFA.com casts an eye over the top five scorers in UEFA European Championship history.
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Still going strong at 35, Robbie Keane added another two goals to his Republic of Ireland account on Friday to stretch his lead as the all-time highest scorer in qualifying. He now stands within three goals of Cristiano Ronaldo in the overall competition charts – finals included – though the Portugal forward can bolster his tally in Albania on Monday. UEFA.com profiles the top five scorers in the tournament's history.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – 26 goals, 39 games (2004–)
It was in the UEFA European Championship that Ronaldo announced himself to the wider world, at UEFA EURO 2004, in helping inspire the hosts to the final. He scored in the opening game, a 2-1 defeat by Greece, the start of a productive association.
He registered eight goals en route to UEFA EURO 2008, adding another amid a disappointing finals campaign as Portugal exited in the last eight. UEFA EURO 2012 brought ten more goals in all, as his side reached the semi-finals where eventual winners Spain edged them out.
The Real Madrid phenomenon has continued in the same vein on the road to France 2016, moving top of the all-time charts at home to Armenia before hitting his first ever EURO hat-trick against the same opponents on 13 June. The only Portuguese to score at three FIFA World Cups, Ronaldo also heads the field in the UEFA Champions League scoring stakes alongside Lionel Messi, with both players now boasting 77 strikes apiece.
Robbie Keane (Republic of Ireland) – 23 goals, 45 games (1998–)
The all-time top scorer in qualifying since his hat-trick against Gibraltar last October, he added another two efforts against the islanders on Friday. Overall, only four European players – Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis, Gerd Müller and Miroslav Klose – have amassed more international strikes than Keane's 67.
He debuted for Ireland at 17, when a team-mate and inspiration made a prescient remark. "When I first came into the Ireland squad, Niall Quinn said to me I would get 50 goals, so it's probably down to him," Keane commented as he passed his half-century of strikes in 2011 during a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier.
The tournament in Poland and Ukraine remains Keane's sole continental finals, though his endeavours – and the acrobatic celebrations that almost always follow – could well help Ireland earn a place in France after they moved third in qualifying Group D against Gibraltar.
Jon Dahl Tomasson (Denmark) – 22 goals, 31 games (1998–2007)
Tomasson netted ten times in 31 FIFA World Cup qualifiers but the UEFA European Championship brought the best out of him.
A deep-lying forward, he never went more than two qualifiers without a goal and a run of six in five outings hauled Denmark into the lineup for UEFA EURO 2000, including the winner as his team came from 2-0 down to claim a requisite victory against Italy in their final group fixture.
He also notched five en route to UEFA EURO 2004, adding another three in Portugal as Denmark got to the last eight. His eight qualifying strikes were not enough four years later, though. "I always had an enormous drive to succeed and I think I got everything possible from my career," he said upon retiring. "I could not have been better."
Hakan Şükür (Turkey) – 22 goals, 38 games (1994–2007)
For over two decades the man known outside Turkey as the 'Bull of the Bosporus' charged around Europe (and beyond), claiming records and national adoration. Such was his popularity, his wedding was televised live.
Galatasaray's all-time leading marksman and the top Turkish scorer in European club competitions, he accumulated more goals in the Turkish top flight than any other player and in 2002 hit the fastest goal seen at a World Cup – inside 11 seconds.
He was in the side that advanced to the last eight at UEFA EURO 2000 and was always among the goals, rifling in four, aged 35, in one qualifier against Moldova in 2006.
Jan Koller (Czech Republic) – 21 goals, 35 games (1999-2008)
Physically imposing and always a handful in the air, the Czech Republic's all-time leading scorer represented his country at three EURO finals, making his bow in 2000 after registering six times en route to Belgium and the Netherlands.
Though he was unable to find the net at the tournament proper, Koller struck twice at UEFA EURO 2004, where his partnership Milan Baroš helped propel the Czechs to the last four.
Likewise on target at the 2006 World Cup, Koller's final EURO goal was his last ever international strike. The well-travelled forward opened the scoring against Turkey in the Czech Republic's final group game at UEFA EURO 2008, only for their opponents to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 win in the closing stages to send Koller and Co home.
*Statistics accurate as of 5 September 2015