Euro 2024: The Veterans League

football13 June 2024 10:33| © SuperSport

As Euro 2024 approaches, the excitement is palpable with a mix of young talents ready to make their mark and seasoned veterans looking to leave an indelible legacy. Among these experienced players, six legends stand out: Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Olivier Giroud, Pepe, and Manuel Neuer.

Each of these players not only brings a wealth of experience but also a unique set of skills and leadership qualities that could prove decisive in their teams' campaigns. Catch all the Uefa Euro 2024 action live on SuperSport.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

At 39, Cristiano Ronaldo is set to add another chapter to his illustrious career. Known for his exceptional physical conditioning, Ronaldo's career has been a testament to his relentless drive and dedication. As the all-time leading scorer in men's international football, his presence on the field is always a game-changer. With his lethal finishing, aerial prowess, and ability to deliver in clutch moments, Ronaldo remains a pivotal figure for Portugal. His experience and leadership will be crucial as Portugal seeks to replicate their Euro 2016 triumph.

Luka Modric (Croatia)

Luka Modric, the Croatian midfield maestro, continues to defy age with his impeccable vision, passing accuracy, and ability to control the tempo of the game. At 38, Modric's playmaking abilities are still second to none. His experience in leading Croatia to the World Cup final in 2018 and a strong showing in subsequent tournaments makes him an indispensable asset. Modric's calmness under pressure and ability to dictate play will be vital for Croatia as they aim for Euro glory.

Toni Kroos (Germany)

Toni Kroos, the 34-year-old German midfielder, is renowned for his exceptional technical skills and game intelligence. Having retired from international football in 2021, his potential return to the national team for Euro 2024 has been met with great anticipation. Kroos’s precision passing, long-range shooting, and set-piece expertise make him a key player in Joachim Löw's squad. His experience and composure will be instrumental in guiding a relatively young German team through the rigors of the tournament.

Olivier Giroud (France)

At 37, Olivier Giroud remains a potent force in front of goal for France. The AC Milan striker is France's all-time leading scorer, surpassing even Thierry Henry. Known for his physical presence, aerial ability, and knack for scoring crucial goals, Giroud’s experience is invaluable for Les Bleus. His ability to hold up play and link with teammates adds a different dimension to France's attack. Giroud's leadership and poaching instincts could be key as France seeks to reclaim the title they last won in 2000.

Pepe (Portugal)

Defender Pepe, at 41, is still going strong and is expected to be a crucial part of Portugal's backline. Known for his tenacity, aerial strength, and no-nonsense defending, Pepe brings a wealth of experience and a warrior-like mentality to the pitch. His leadership and organisational skills at the back will be critical in keeping Portugal's defense tight against Europe's best attackers. Pepe’s ability to inspire and rally his teammates will be crucial in Portugal's quest for another European title.

Manuel Neuer (Germany)

Manuel Neuer, the 38-year-old German goalkeeper, remains one of the best in the world. Known for his exceptional shot-stopping, commanding presence in the box, and pioneering "sweeper-keeper" style, Neuer’s influence extends beyond traditional goalkeeping. His experience in big tournaments, including lifting the World Cup in 2014, provides a calming and authoritative presence at the back. Neuer’s leadership and consistency will be vital for Germany as they navigate through the challenges of Euro 2024.

Final Word

Euro 2024 promises to be a thrilling tournament, and these veteran players bring a blend of experience, skill, and leadership that could make the difference for their respective teams. Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Olivier Giroud, Pepe, and Manuel Neuer are not just playing for another trophy but also to cement their legacies as some of the greatest players of their generation. As they take to the field, fans around the world will be watching closely, knowing that these icons still have the ability to shine brightly on the biggest stage.