Euro 2024 kicks off in Germany when the hosts take on Scotland at Munich’s Allianz Arena in Group A on June 14, Friday.

High-profile players and breakout stars from the best leagues in the world will compete in the month-long Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) championship.

Here’s a look at our top 10 players to watch during the tournament:

⚽ Jude Bellingham (England)

Jude Bellingham’s stunning debut season at Spanish mega club Real Madrid has rapidly turned the attacking English midfielder into one of the hottest commodities in European football.

Bellingham took the Spanish giants by storm with 18 league goals in the 2023-24 season, helping Madrid win the La Liga title and reach the Champions League final.

Apart from his impressive statistics, the 20-year-old’s leadership qualities and winning mentality have earned him the status of a hero among the Bernabeu faithful.

Bellingham will be keen to build on his spectacular club performance and could be the X factor in England’s Euro 2024 campaign, as they look to claim a maiden European nations title.

Player juggles football on his foot.
England’s chances at Euro 2024 may rest with how well star midfielder Jude Bellingham performs in Germany [Matthew Childs/Reuters]

⚽ Florian Wirtz (Germany)

Florian Wirtz was named the Bundesliga’s Player of the Year for his key role in Xabi Alonso’s revolutionary 2023-24 title-winning team at Bayer Leverkusen, as the attacking midfielder racked up the joint second-most assists (11) and scored an equal number of goals.

Wirtz is one of the brightest stars to emerge out of Germany in the last decade, with a rare talent to control and dominate the midfield in a way few other players in world football can.

If host Euro 2024 nation Germany is to have any chance of winning the trophy on home soil, Wirtz will need to be at his impactful best in order for them to succeed.

Football players kicks ball towards goal.
Germany’s hopes of securing a home Euros title rest on the 21-year-old shoulders of attacking midfield sensation Florian Wirtz [Thilo Schmuelgen/Reuters]

⚽ Xavi Simons (Netherlands)

Xavi Simons is a product of Barcelona’s La Masia Academy and his game boasts admirable traits of ‘Total Football’ – a tactical system common in Dutch and Spanish football in which any outfield player can take over the role of any other player – allowing the 21-year-old to impact a game from a multitude of positions.

At RB Leipzig, Simons operated on both wings and also as an attacking midfielder, carrying the ball around, maximising possession and creating goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates.

If given the game time and attacking liberty by manager Ronald Koeman, Simons can be a standout player for the Netherlands, allowing the Dutch a puncher’s chance to defeat the main contenders at Euro 2024.

Football player dribbles around defender.
Xavi Simons’ sublime talent on the Dutch national team elevates the Netherlands from pretenders to contenders at Euro 2024 [Piroschka Van De Wouw/Reuters]

⚽ Rasmus Hojlund (Denmark)

Having joined Manchester United as their most expensive signing in the summer of 2023, Rasmus Hojlund fully justified his price tag, scoring 10 English Premier League goals and at just 21 years old, becoming the youngest player to reach double-figure goals in the 2023-24 EPL season.

After overcoming injury issues and a form slump, Hojlund emerged as a promising attacking talent in the final months of the Premier League and will be keen to carry that form into Euro 2024.

In the past year, Hojlund has also thrived at an international level, leading Denmark’s attack with a sizzling seven goals during the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.

Football player dribbles football towards goal.
Euro 2024 could be forward Rasmus Hojlund’s breakout party as Denmark dare to dream of their first European championship since their miraculous Euro 1992 title [Liselotte Sabroe/Reuters]

⚽ Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)

Playmaker Kevin De Bruyne was the midfield maestro behind Manchester City’s victorious 2023-24 English Premier League (EPL) title charge, orchestrating the Sky Blues’ charge to their fourth straight EPL title.

The Belgian was almost unstoppable in the second half of the season for City and is on form at the right time with Euro 2024 beginning mid-June.

Belgium will hope De Bruyne is fit and firing for the Euros, where they could benefit from his experience in a new-look squad that is hoping to improve on the team’s quarterfinal appearances at Euro 2016 and Euro 2020.

Football player dribbles the ball around three defenders.
Victorious Manchester City captain Kevin De Bruyne, in white, will be hoping to lead Belgium to Euro 2024 glory, as well [Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters]

⚽ Kenan Yildiz (Turkey)

Eighteen-year-old Kenan Yildiz transformed Max Allegri’s dull Juventus side in Italy’s Serie A, helping the defensive-minded team score far more than expected.

His presence improved not only his fellow striker Dusan Vlahovic’s form, but also Juve’s wingbacks, allowing them space between the lines.

As one of Serie A’s most exciting attackers, Yildiz stands on the brink of stardom for Turkey, for whom he scored his first international goal against Germany in November last year.

Euro 2024 will be a homecoming of sorts for the lanky forward: Yildiz was born in Regensburg, Germany to a Turkish father and a German mother.

He will be hoping to elevate Turkey to at least the quarterfinals after the country was disappointingly knocked out at the group stage in the last two Euros.

Football player celebrates after scoring goal.
Talented Turkish forward Kenan Yildiz will return to his place of birth in Germany with one thing on his mind: winning his country’s first Euro title [Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters]

⚽ Lamine Yamal (Spain)

At just 16 years old, Lamine Yamal already has set a list of extraordinary records in his young career: youngest scorer for Barcelona, youngest scorer in La Liga history and youngest scorer for the Spanish national team.

This Spanish wonderkid’s explosive nature on the wings and unique ability to find the back of the net makes him one of the best options the national team will have in attack at Euro 2024 in Germany.

Euro 2024 may turn out to be the global coming-out party for the player many believe is one of the greatest 16-year-old prospects to ever play the game.

Spain already co-holds the record for European championship victories with Germany at three a piece. Yamal’s once-in-a-generation potential might yield an unprecedented fourth trophy for Spain.

Football player dribbles around defender.
Lamine Yamal’s extraordinary talent landed him in the Barcelona team at just 16. Can this superbly gifted winger similarly impress at Euro 2024 as a key part of a stacked Spanish side hungry for glory? [Albert Gea/Reuters]

⚽ Phil Foden (England)

Phil Foden’s impressive haul of 19 goals and eight assists for Manchester City earned him the Player of the Season award, as his side clinched a record fourth successive English Premier League title.

The 23-year-old impressed in an attacking midfield position for City and should Gareth Southgate play him in the same position instead of out wide, Foden could be the Three Lions’ dangerman.

England nearly won their first Euro title just three years ago at the COVID-19-affected 2021 edition, agonisingly losing on penalties to Italy in the final.

A breakout tournament from Foden may be the extra weapon they need up front to finally end their Euros title drought.

Footballer catches ball on the end of his foot.
England are hoping Phil Foden’s winning habits at Manchester City can rub off on the national team as they aim for a maiden Euro title in 2024 [Carl Recine/Reuters]

⚽ Kylian Mbappe (France)

Known for his mesmerising dribbling, speed and clinical finishing, Kylian Mbappe has been one of the premier players on an awesome France national team in recent years.

The 25-year-old, who will wear the captain’s armband at the Euros, heads into the tournament on the back of a terrific final season with Paris Saint-Germain, scoring a whopping 44 goals in all competitions. Mbappe has signed on to play for Real Madrid next season.

With Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo now in the twilight of their illustrious careers, Euro 2024 represents the ideal platform for Mbappe to signal to the global footballing community that he is ready to be crowned the world’s greatest player – and that there’s no better way to do that than by leading France to their first European Championship in 24 years.

Football players raises arm in a fist gesture to celebrate a goal.
A standout Euro 2024 performance by superstar striker Kylian Mbappe is France’s best chance of securing a first European Championship since 2000 [Stephane Mahe/Reuters]

⚽ Josko Gvardiol (Croatia)

Josko Gvardiol arrived at Manchester City primarily as a central defender, but the 22-year-old spectacularly transformed into a goal-scoring left back, making him one of the Premier League’s biggest matchup nightmares for opposing teams.

In the 2023-24 EPL season, when he wasn’t torturing opposing forwards and keeping clean sheets, Gvardiol also chipped in on the offensive end for City, scoring a handy five goals and bagging three assists in all competitions.

This rare defender-turned-attacker hybrid sensation is also versatile enough to play in a defensive midfield role for Croatia, allowing their captain Luka Modric to dictate the game in midfield.

Gvardiol’s unique skill set positions Croatia nicely to play the role of spoiler at Euro 2024.

Football player catches ball with his foot.
As one of the best defenders in the world, Josko Gvardiol gives Croatia a great chance to record their best performance ever at a European Championship [Antonio Bronic/Reuters]

You can follow the action on Al Jazeera’s dedicated Euro 2024 tournament page with all the match build-up and live text commentary, and keep up to date with group standings and real-time match results and schedules.

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