Saka, Ronaldo and the European Championship stars who cried

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald
  • Updated: 11 Apr 2024 16:13 BST
  • 4 min read
Bukayo Saka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Euros

The European Championship has produced some incredible moments during its illustrious history, but several players have broken down in tears following a defeat in the tournament.

A penalty shootout defeat or a loss in a crucial knockout match is often enough for a player to be overwhelmed by emotion and it has happened on multiple occasions in European Championship history.

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Below, FootballTransfers runs through the players who have cried at the Euros.

READ MORE: The 10 best European Championship transfers of all time

Stuart Pearce - England (Euro 1996)

Stuart Pearce admitted to “crying his eyes out" following England’s penalty shootout defeats at the 1990 World Cup and the 1996 European Championship.

The latter saw England defeated by x on home soil, with Pearce inconsolable after Gareth Southgate missed the decisive spot kick.

He retired from international football on the bus home from the match and never played for his country again.

READ MORE: The five worst European Championship transfers of all time

Francesco Totti - Italy (Euro 2000)

Italy forward Francesco Totti was pictured in tears following his nation’s defeat to France in the Euro 2000 final.

Totti was sensational throughout the tournament and he even produced a panenka penalty during Italy’s penalty shootout win over the Netherlands in the semi-final. He was magnificent in the final too, but was cruelly denied victory by David Trezeguet’s Golden Goal.

Cristiano Ronaldo - Portugal (Euro 2004)

When Portugal lost the Euro 2004 final to shock winners Greece, a young Cristiano Ronaldo burst into tears on the pitch.

The teenager had burst onto the international scene with his performances at the tournament, but he was distraught at full-time and the clip of him crying is now famous.

Mario Balotelli - Italy (Euro 2012)

‘Super Mario’ was outstanding during Euro 2012 and he produced one of the most iconic goals and celebrations in European Championship history against Germany in the semi-final.

However, Italy succumbed to a 4-0 defeat to Spain in the final and Balotelli was spotted crying after his nation’s loss.

Tears streamed down his face as he stood on the pitch with his runners up medal around his neck.

Christophe Jallet - France (Euro 2016)

Home favourites France were expected to win the Euro 2016 final, but a late goal from Eder ensured Portugal sealed a memorable victory and the result left Christophe Jallet “crying like a child.”

That is according to French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet, who also revealed that Patrice Evra, Blaise Matuidi and Olivier Giroud were also extremely upset.

Bukayo Saka - England (Euro 2020)

Bukayo Saka, Arsenal
© IMAGO - Bukayo Saka, Arsenal

Bukayo Saka missed the decisive spot kick as England lost the Euro 2020 final on penalties to Italy.

The Arsenal man was reduced to tears after his miss and was consoled on the pitch by England boss Gareth Southgate and several team-mates.

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