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Sunday, 2 July, 2000, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
Lawro's Euro Hall of Fame
Platini after France's 1984 win with coach Hidalgo
Mark Lawrenson reveals to BBC Sport Online his list of five European Championship greats.


Russian goalkeeper Yashin remains one of football's legends, an almost mystical presence in the days of black and white television.

Yashin was known around the world, even by young kids who had never seen him play.

Yashin was an almost mystical presence in all black

Mark Lawrenson

He was a charismatic figure dressed in all black, a big personality in an era before goalkeepers claimed their share of the spotlight.

Yashin was a big man, but also incredibly athletic, possessing all the attributes necessary to make a great goalkeeper.

He played in two European Championship finals, and his reputation remains as glittering as ever in football circles today.


Franz Beckenbauer can rightly be credited with inventing the so-called "libero" role.

"The Kaiser" Beckenbauer
Beckenbauer, dubbed "The Kaiser" because of his imperious style, was a world class midfield man who switched to defence and became even better.

He alone controlled the pace of the games he played in. If he wanted a quick tempo, he ensured it was quick. If he wanted it slow, the same applied.

Beckenbauer showed all the signs of true world class, always having time to play and never looking like he was under any pressure.

He would have been magnificent anywhere, and this is reflected in his success as a player, when he won every top trophy on offer, including the European Championships with West Germany in 1972..

And just for good measure, he later became manager and led his country to the World Cup in Italia 90.

Beckenbauer is still hugely respected today, and is always recognised all over the world.


The French wax lyrical about Zinedine Zidane, but they had an equally wonderful player in Michel Platini.

Platini ran game after game for France. He was in charge, despite being surrounded by magnificent colleagues like Jean Tigana and Alain Giresse.

Michel's timing of the pass was a crucial element of his game, and he was an habitual scorer of very important goals.

He would certainly rank among the most creative European midfield players I have ever seen.

I played against him for Liverpool and the Republic of Ireland, and while the theory may have been to get near him and give him a little kick and see how he reacted, no-one ever actually got near enough to do it.

One of the very best.


Marco Van Basten's goalscoring exploits were magnificent - both in number and quality.

Marco Van Basten
The goals he scored when Holland won the Eureopean Championships in 1988 were breathtaking.

I do not recall any player producing such a selection of quality goals as he did in that tournament. He is remembered for his volley against Russia in the final, but he also punished the English and the Germans as well.

Gullit and Rijkaard shake their heads and say Van Basten was the best

Mark Lawrenson
And when you speak to people like Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard and mention Van Basten, they just shake their heads and say he was the best they ever played with.

He joined them in that great Dutch triumverate at AC Milan, proving his quality there as well.

Van Basten was a big man, but possessed brilliant control and was a wonderful all round footballer.

He saw his career cut short by injury, but when he was at the top of his game he deserved his place in any list of all time greats.


The best all round footballer in the world today bar none. You can put up the best Brazilians like Rivaldo, but he still comes out on top.

Zidane delivers on the big occasions. He scored twice in the 1998 World Cup Final and has inspired France in this European Championship.

He is the catalyst for everything the French team does and is also outstanding at club level with Juventus.

And as an added bonus, Zidane works his socks off for the team. He can produce the glamour stuff, but he is equally prepared to do the donkey work and any defensive duties that are required.

Congratulations to Vladimir Grigorov of the UK, who was picked out at random from many entries who correctly predicted four out of the five names picked by Mark Lawrenson.

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See also:

30 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Final advert for Serie A
30 Jun 00 | Euro2000
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