The month-long Euro 2016 not only has the potential to produce stars but also has the capability to turn out to be a complete dampener for many of the existing star players. The history of football brings out plenty of instances where new stars take birth after some sensational displays and existing big names have faltered.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo remain the biggest examples. In club football, the duo has been the best in the world, but when it comes to performing for their national side, everything seems to go haywire.
In France too, we could be witnessing a similar thing. There are several big names in the tournament but who remains eligible to perform to the best of their abilities and who does not meet the expectations, remains to be seen.
Let us look at some of the players who could just turn out to be a complete disappointment or flop in the Euro 2016:
Wayne Rooney - England
Rooney and his jinx to perform to the best of his abilities for the national team is expected to continue even in Euro 2016. Once rated very highly in Europe, the 30-year-old started losing sheen as years passed.
It was reported just ahead of the start of the tournament in France that Roy Hodgson could scrap the diamond formation for the Three Lions and deploy the 4-3-3 formation. Where exactly Rooney fits in the new plan of things, remains to be seen. From a centre forward to a winger to a deep-lying midfielder, what is next for Rooney is a million dollar question that everyone has on their minds right now.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Sweden
Shocker? Well, don't blame us if he doesn't fulfil the benchmark of expectations he is capable of meeting in the tournament. After making the whole nation of Denmark "retire" in the Euro 2016 qualifiers, Ibrahimovic, who has already achieved a legendary status for his on-field and off-the-field antics, will have a boulder of pressure on him to retire the other 23 nations in Euro 2016.
Sweden doesn't have star names and thus, the pressure on the 34-year-old lanky forward will just be too much.
Gareth Bale - Wales
The Real Madrid winger has had a meteoric rise over the years in club football, but what about his performance for the national team? Bale, 26, may have had quite a decent record for the Wales senior team but his country's inability to feature in top international events could turn out to be a drawback over here.
Wales has qualified for a mega football international tournament for the first time since 1958 and that is a milestone in itself. However, the players' inexperience to feature in the World Cup or the European Championship previously could come as a major disadvantage not only to Bale but also the other star names like Aaron Ramsey.
Eden Hazard - Belgium
Accept it, Hazard has not been at his best in the Premier League this season. He has been appointed the skipper of the Belgium national team in the absence of Vincent Kompany, but how effective he will be in the tournament remains a big question.
If the Chelsea winger gets even one opportunity to make at least a bit of an impact in Euro 2016, overshadowing the likes of teammates Kevin De Bruyne, Axel Witsel and Divock Origi, he will be praised. Else, it is highly unlikely that he will be able to light a huge amount of fireworks with his performance in the tournament.
David Silva - Spain
Silva is a big name in the Spain squad but how much effect he would be able to make this time around, remains to be seen. La Roja have two expectations to meet — to continue the history of fielding a star-studded midfield line, and secondly, to try every possible way to defend the European Championship.
The likes of Cesc Fabregas, Pedro, Sergio Busquets, Koke and the ever-reliable Andres Iniesta make the Spain midfield glittering. Silva is also expected to use his creative vision and technical acumen to create plenty of scoring chances for the team. However, will he succeed? Remains a doubt.
P.S. Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo will not be a flop this time around. That's our prediction!