Kylian Mbappe, Renato Sanches, James Rodriguez and Mario Balotelli all belong to a unique group.
They are just four of many breakout stars from previous World Cups and European Championships. While dedicated fans witnessed their exploits beforehand, they jumped into the stratosphere of the wider sporting world thanks to dominant displays with the whole planet watching these international tournaments.
That’s why one of the burning questions entering Euro 2020 is: who will be the breakthrough star?
Typically, these players are attack-minded, so with that in mind, let’s assess one player per group who could light up the Euros this summer.
Group A: Nicolo Barella (Italy)
Having played a pivotal role in Inter’s Scudetto-winning season in Serie A, Nicolo Barella has the chance to be equally impactful for his country.
Barella might be a midfielder, but the 24-year-old is the pure definition of all action, as his statistical radar shows below.
Italy has a wealth of options in midfield but there’s no mistake, when Barella is ticking, so are the Azzurri.
Group B: Jonas Wind (Denmark)
The likely starter for Denmark up front, Jonas Wind’s international career has started off brightly with three goals in his first seven games.
Still just 22, the Copenhagen striker has the ideal combination of height and technical ability, which comes through in his statistical radar.
Considering Denmark is a dark horse to win Euro 2020, Wind could be the most unknown “breakthrough star” to grace a tournament in years, provided the Danes manage a deep run in the knockout stages.
Group C: Ryan Gravenberch (Netherlands)
Speaking of the perfect combination of height and technical ability, meet Ajax’s Ryan Gravenberch.
He might not be a regular starter at the Euros, but with his dribbling abilities, vision and defensive acumen, it might be difficult for Netherlands coach Frank de Boer to leave him out of the Dutch midfield setup.
Keep in mind, Gravenberch only celebrated his 19th birthday on May 16. Given the output on his statistical radar, the teenager could be on the precipice of superstardom.
Group D: Jadon Sancho (England)
Considering the likes of Jude Bellingham may not start and Phil Foden’s campaign with Manchester City brought him to the forefront, Jadon Sancho has become the forgotten man.
He’s still 21 and while the first half of his season at Borussia Dortmund started slowly, he made up for it with a strong finish to the Bundesliga campaign. He still finished with 10 goals and 14 assists in 30 matches across all competitions despite those early struggles. The radar below only accentuates Sancho’s exploits.
Sancho is especially threatening when he combines with an attack-minded full-back, so that’ll have to be considered by England coach Gareth Southgate if he wants to extract every ounce of the Dortmund man’s qualities.
Group E: Alexander Isak (Sweden)
No Zlatan Ibrahimovic, no problem for Sweden.
Alexander Isak has the limelight and after scoring 17 goals in 31 games with Real Sociedad, the towering striker is ready to carry that form into Euro 2020.
Bare in mind, Isak’s more than just a goal-scorer, which his statistical radar highlights.
Group F: Joao Felix (Portugal)
Fun fact: Joao Felix was the fourth most expensive player in history when he joined Atletico Madrid from Benfica for €126 million ($185.5 million) in 2019.
Despite that hefty fee, Felix’s time at Atletico has been hindered by injuries and playing for Diego Simeone, who relishes a player who hustles back to win a tackle in his own defensive third.
It’s for that reason that Felix might not start, but in the Portuguese side at Euro 2020, he could finally show off his all-around abilities. He was among the Champions League leaders in non-penalty expected goals (NPxG) this past season, so he clearly has a fondness for the big stage. Perhaps the Euros will bring out the best from the youngster.