We’re a few weeks past the Euro 2016 final now, and though many viewed the tournament as something of a let down, there was still a lot of impressive football on display for a month. The European Championships are always a time for young players to break out and for prominent stars to showcase their talents. But who at the 2016 Euros raised his stock the most? Who could be in for the biggest payday following an inflated international profile? The following names have to be under consideration for significant raises the next time they’re owed contracts.
Payet has put his club team in a bit of a bind with his exceptional play. He was at times West Ham’s best player during the most recent Premier League campaign, and he was certainly in the conversation as the top star at Euro 2016 given all the attention on the French team (though most would give the honour to someone else in the end). Payet is signed for £125,000/week through 2021, but he’s only 29 and just raised his profile even higher. Football Fan Cast wrote up a profile on Payet in its news section following the Euros, and the ultimate impression was that Payet may still leave the Hammers, particularly in light of his newly inflated value.
It’s hard to imagine Cristiano Ronaldo becoming a more valuable player than he already is, but it’s also undeniable that the Portuguese star’s legend grew a little bit with his first major international triumph. The Euro 2016 title doesn’t change the fact that Ronaldo is now 31 years gold, but it might just make clubs feel the need to offer him larger contracts. While it currently looks as if he’ll stay glued to Real Madrid for a bit longer, there’s bound to be interest from Manchester United (where he’s hinted he’d like to play again on multiple occasions). With Ronaldo looking more special than ever, a bidding war could get unusually active for a star on the wrong side of 30.
Bale was outstanding in leading Wales to the Euro 2016 semi-finals, and pretty much confirmed that he’s among the most exciting, passionate, and effective strikers in Europe. His stock has risen assuredly, though it was already so high it’s hard to imagine much of a change in the market for Bale moving forward.
Certainly no player raised his international profile more than Antoine Griezmann, whose six goals for the host nation doubled the next highest total by any player in the Euros. Interestingly enough, Griezmann was recently the subject of a playful article about buying footballers with jackpot money. It was posted at Lottoland, a site that posts lottery results for a number of different contests, and they recently looked back at some of the biggest wins in various lotteries to match them up with transfer fees. For Griezmann, it was concluded that the biggest French Lotto win—a £24 million prize in 2011—equalled the fee Atlético Madrid paid Real Sociedad for the player’s services. It’s amusing this was just written up, because £24 million seems considerably low in the aftermath of the tournament.
Bale was the headliner for the Welsh team, but Aaron Ramsey was frankly sensational throughout the tournament and arguably better than he’s ever been—at least consistently—for Arsenal. Ramsey signed a new contract in 2014 and is being paid handsomely and reportedly happy with the Gunners. But he’s only 25 now and if Euro 2016 was a sign of quality to come, he’ll be owed an even bigger contract next time around.
Finally, this 18-year-old Portuguese midfielder who’s already cracked the first team at Bayern Munich showed why he’s tipped for great things, as it was put in a Euro 2016 recap article at Daily Mail. Sanches was perfectly comfortable and excelled against Europe’s best competition, confirming his reputation and no doubt setting his market value astronomically high moving forward.
These weren’t the only standouts from the tournament, but they’re the ones who seem to have done most to draw attention (and possibly a great deal of money) to themselves in the future.