The European Championships are a traditionally a time when club rivalries are placed to one side for the national good, but what if they weren’t? Which of the continent’s club sides have been the most successful in the history of the Euros?
With three wins and as many runner-up medals, Germany are the most successful country in European Championship history.
Close behind them come Spain, with three golds and a solitary silver.
In breaking down the squads of these glorious Die Mannschaft and Furia Roja outfits, a total of 18 members came from Bayern Munich, 15 from Barcelona and 13 from Real Madrid.
The Champions League-monopolising threesome are way out front when it comes to past representatives who have won the European Championships with their national sides.
But, which unheralded outfits are next in the queue? Just how badly do Premier League clubs fare? And which of the continent’s biggest names are still awaiting their first winner?
Between them, Bayern, Barca and Real have won their respective leagues 80 times and ruled Europe a further 20.
In order to accumulate such an almighty haul, great players are essential and, having stocked any number of world-beaters of the years, it’s only logical that this trio of teams have provided the most members of Euros-winning squads.
But Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal have savoured great degrees of success both domestically and on the continent, yet Bordeaux, Borussia Monchengladbach and Monaco have all proved better suppliers of Euro-conquering squads.
Indeed, Panathinaikos have seen three times as many of their players return from the cross-continent skirmish with winners’ medals as Man Utd.
Slovakia’s Slovan Bratislava also deserve an honourable mention here, having held the registrations of no fewer than seven members of the Czechoslovakian 1976-winning side.
Only Germany’s triumphant Euro 1996 collective has ever been so predominantly provided by a single club, with eight of Berti Vogts’ men on the books at Bayern Munich at the time.
Die Mannschaft are 100/30 to win Euro 2016, with what is sure to be a sizeable caravan of ‘FC Hollywood’ stars in attendance.
European football’s present day big three have also done more than any others to provide the spines of sides to prevail in Euros deciders down the years.
Barcelona fielded as many as six of Spain’s triumphant Euro 2012 finalists (Real Madrid stabled four), equalling the Bayern Munich delegations in both the 1996 and 1972 deciders.
Again Ligue 1 also-rans Bordeaux trump all Premier League sides when it comes to housing talent capable of negotiating a European Championship’s last hurdle, as do Monaco and Slovan Bratislava.
Substantially more European champions played their club football in either the Bundesliga or La Liga at the time they earned their medal than any of the continent’s other top flights.
Given the two nations are the most successful sides in Euros history, that’s not surprising, but the same cannot be said for the high rank taken by Italy’s Serie A.
The Azzuri’s sole Championship triumph came in 1968, yet Juventus and Inter have both had representatives in three non-Italian winning squads.
Serie A has housed more Euro-winning stars than Ligue 1 despite France being two-time champions, doubtless due to the higher calibre of non-domestic players their clubs have attracted down the years – Spanish 1964-tournament-winning striker Luis Suarez, the 1960 Ballon d’Or winner for example.
Given England have never been crowned the European champions, the Premier League’s respectable position is down to a similar ability to attract overseas stars.
Shockingly, given the number of continental club trophies accumulated by Sporting Lisbon, Porto and Benfica over the years, Greece defender Takis Fyssas (the of the latter) is the sole Euros winner ever to have been plying his trade in Portugal’s Primeira Liga.
Inseparable when it comes to past Euros-winners-stabled, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool have all profited from an ability to tack to the prevailing winds in the continental game in recent years.
The majority of both London clubs’ representatives were involved in the French victory in 2000, that came two years after Les Bleus won the World Cup.
Meanwhile, all of Liverpool’s past winners were Spanish, with four of La Roja’s 2008 kingpins Anfield men and Pepe Reina also part of a victorious 2012 party, which included Man City’s David Silva.
The remaining Premier League-based European champions were both members of Greece’s surprise 2004-winning outfit – Stelios Giannakopoulos and Nikos Dabizas played for Bolton and Leicester respectively.
Champions League regulars Zenit Saint Petersburg, Porto and Bayer Leverkusen rank highest among the sides never to have produced a single champion on UEFA’s Club Coefficient, while Tottenham aren’t far behind.
The Lilywhites could change that emphatically at Euro 2016, if either Belgium (10/1 to win the tournament), or even England (12/1), take the laurels in France.
Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele all mainstays of the Rode Duivels side, while no fewer than five Spurs players were named in Roy Hodgson’s last Three Lions squad.