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Five post-European Championship transfer flops

Euro 2024 could be a competition that catapults a player into the wider consciousness, though clubs should take caution when moving quickly to sign stars based on tournament performances.

We’ve looked at five players who flopped after post-European Championship transfers.

Karel Poborsky (1996)

Karel Poborsky turned the heads of recruiters during the 1996 European Championship after forming part of the Czech Republic team that reached the final.

Several of that side, including Pavel Nedved and Patrik Berger, earned high-profile moves following the tournament and Poborsky joined Manchester United in a £3.5m deal.

United had beaten competition from Lazio and Liverpool to the winger, who was named in the Team of the Tournament at Euro ’96, with his performances including an iconic chip over Portugal goalkeeper Vítor Baía.

Poborsky won the Premier League title in his debut campaign at Manchester United but the emergence of David Beckham soon reduced his role. He spent just 18 months at Old Trafford, before leaving for Benfica. Despite a long international career that saw Poborsky earn 118 caps, he never captured the heights of Euro ’96 at club level.

Zlatko Zahovič (2000)

Zlatko Zahovič’s performances helped Slovenia to a first major tournament at Euro 2000, as the midfielder scored nine goals in 15 games during the qualification phase. He continued that form into the tournament with three goals in three games despite Slovenia’s group stage exit, persuading Champions League runners-up Valencia to splash £5.5 million on his services.

Valencia again reached the Champions League final in 2000-01, where Zahovič had his penalty saved by Oliver Kahn in the final defeat to Bayern Munich. After scoring just three league goals he was shipped out to Benfica in a swap deal involving Carlos Marchena, following a fallout with head coach Hector Cuper.

Savo Milosevic (2000)

Savo Milosevic was dubbed “Miss-a-lot-ević” during his time at Aston Villa, an unwanted and perhaps unfair tag for a player who scored 226 goals during his club career.

At Euro 2000, the striker sent a message to the Villa fans who had criticised him during his spell with the club between 1995 and 1998. Milosevic won the Golden Boot and was named in the Team of the Tournament, after scoring five times during Yugoslavia’s run to the quarter-finals.

Parma spent a whopping €25m to sign Milosevic that summer, who mustered just nine league goals across 18 months before being loaned to Real Zaragoza.

Theodoros Zagorakis (2004)

Greece’s triumphant tournament at Euro 2004 remains one of the great football shocks. Rank underdogs before a ball had been kicked, a disciplined defensive team caused a seismic surprise under the management of Otto Rehhagel.

Theodoros Zagorakis was voted player of the tournament in Portugal and moved to Bologna on a free transfer from AEK Athens after the summer’s success. The midfielder was championed as “our Greek Baggio” by Bologna owner Giuseppe Gazzoni Frascara but never lived up to that billing.

His sole season with the club saw Bologna relegated to Serie B and Zagorakis was released with the Italian side unable to afford his wages.

Roman Pavlyuchenko (2008)

Russia’s run to the Euro 2008 semi-finals saw several of their squad attract interest from England, with Andrey Arshavin and Yuriy Zhirkov making moves to the Premier League within 12 months of the tournament.

Spurs were first to act, spending £14m to bring in Roman Pavlyuchenko from Spartak Moscow. A relative unknown before the tournament, the forward scored three times during Russia’s campaign to earn inclusion in the Team of the Tournament.

His time at Tottenham was underwhelming. Despite a respectable record of 42 goals in 113 appearances across all competitions, the Russian failed to nail down a regular role, falling to fourth-choice forward behind Robbie Keane, Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe and irking manager Harry Redknapp with his attitude on occasion.

He returned to Russia with Lokomotiv Moscow in 2012 after a reported bust-up with Spurs coach Kevin Bond.

Read – Euro 2000 – Zidane’s zenith as France reign supreme

See more – Euro 2004 – Charisteas completes Greek miracle in Lisbon

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