They have dazzled you, and millions of other fans, with their skills in France this summer. Now the best players of Euro 2016 are preparing for action with their clubs.
The official UEFA best Euro 2016 XI team include four from champions Portugal, three from Germany and two each from finalists France and surprise package Wales. All play their football in Europe – so you have the chance to see them up close and personal in 2016/7!
Four of that chosen XI play in just one city – the Spanish capital of Madrid. That should come as no surprise – after all, Real and Atlético battled it out in the Champions League final last year. It’s where you will find Euro XI choices Pepe, Toni Kroos and of course Cristiano Ronaldo turning out in the famous white of Real, while France striker Antoine Griezmann plays for Atlético.
Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu is one of the world’s super stadiums and should be on every football fan’s wish list. Located in the north of the city, on a matchday it resembles a coliseum, with four covered tiers of fans reaching into the sky. With a capacity of 81,000, an incredible atmosphere is virtually guaranteed. And you should take a tour and visit the museum – if only to see their 11 European Cups.
Across the city, Atlético’s Vicente Calderón Stadium seems modest in comparison. However, this more open bowl still holds 55,000 and it has been virtually full because of the team’s success in recent years. You don’t have too long to visit it – Atlético are leaving for another stadium in a couple of years.
Madrid enjoys mild winters so it’s a perfect place to enjoy the football and relax with tapas in the many bars and cafes.
Visit Madrid this season, click here!
Download our free Swedish guide to Real Madrid and the Bernabéu, click here!
Download our free Swedish guide to Atlético Madrid and Vicente Calderón, click here!
Two of Germany’s star players, Jérôme Boateng and Joshua Kimmich, both play for Bayern Munich. The capital of Bavaria has a distinctive character all of its own and Bayern’s world-famous Allianz Arena is truly unique.
The arena was built for the 2006 World Cup, where it hosted the first game, and from a distance it resembles a spaceship. When Bayern are playing at home the exterior of the bowl is lit up in their famous red colours.
The capacity has been gradually increased to 75,000 – they needed to, as every Bayern game here sells out. Everything about this stadium is big. It’s the only three-tiered arena in Germany. It has the biggest screens in the country, and below your feet as you walk up to it is Europe’s largest car park.
Visit the magnificent Bayern Munich this season, click here!
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Portugal’s Raphaël Guerreiro also plays in Germany – for Bayern’s biggest challengers, Borussia Dortmund. So he has the pleasure of playing every other week at the Westfalenstadion, also known as Signal Iduna Park – rated by many as Europe’s finest stadium.
Why is it so good? Well, it gains points for its sheer size alone – it holds 81,000 and it is full every game, meaning Dortmund have the highest average football attendance anywhere in the world. But the crowning glory is surely the Südtribüne, the Yellow Wall. It is Europe’s largest terrace, holding 24,500 Dortmund fans. It’s famous for its noise and its fan displays. It is a sight to behold.
Visit Borussia Dortmund this season, click here!
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Head to England to catch up with three more of the Euro XI. Wales surprised everyone, and two of their players received special praise.
Joe Allen has played for Liverpool under manager Jürgen Klopp at Anfield, however following his successful summer he is now expected to make the move south to play for Stoke City.
Meanwhile fellow Welsh star Aaron Ramsey is a hero at his club, Arsenal of London. The Gunners play at the new Emirates Stadium in North London, and has a capacity of 60,000. There is a typical London buzz around the stadium on matchday, as fans pour off the underground, into the local pubs and then into the stadium. Arsenal remain very proud of the football they play under Arsène Wenger – and their record of reaching the Champions League year after year is unrivalled.
Visit Arsenal this season, click here!
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The third Euro XI star to be playing in England is France’s Dimitri Payet. He turns out in the claret and blue of West Ham United, the team from the East End of London. This season is a very special one for West Ham, as they have said goodbye to their former Upton Park home and are moving into the London Olympic Stadium. It is located in the vast Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, and is easy to reach from central London. The 60,000 capacity is almost twice the size of the former West Ham stadium, but interest is so high that every Premier League game is expected to be a sell out.
Visit West Ham United this season, click here!
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For our final player of the Euro 2016 best XI we head to the west of the continent. Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Patrício has spent his entire career so far at Sporting in Lisbon. Sporting of course have a great rivalry with city neighbours Benfica. Sporting’s Estádio José Alvalade holds 50,000 fans and was built for the 2004 Euros. Lisbon’s climate is beautifully mild throughout the winter and the laid-back welcome of the Portuguese capital has to be experienced and enjoyed!
Visit Sporting this season, click here!
Download our free Swedish guide to Sporting and Estádio José Alvalade, click here!
By Jim Stewart, Publisher of Football Weekends magazine, the fan’s guide to football trips in Europe