With Euro 2012 just days away, we thought we'd give you an idea of the players to look out for in a number of statistical categories before we begin our live coverage, with all the up-to-date figures and frontrunners throughout the tournament. Using last season's stats from each of Europe's top 5 leagues we have compiled the leaderboards of individuals partaking in Poland and Ukraine that stood out for the clubs in 2011/12.
When it comes to the player to have mustered the most shots last season, Cristiano Ronaldo's 264 efforts are top of any player in Europe's top 5 leagues and almost 100 more than any other player at Euro 2012. Arsenal's Robin van Persie will rightly be among the favourites to pick up the Golden Boot, while the form of the likes of Di Natale and Giroud last season earned them deserved call-ups to the Italian and French squads respectively. It is all too evident to see how much England will miss Wayne Rooney at the tournament in the first two matches, with the United man ranking 5th here for shots of players competing in this summer's championships.
Italy's Andrea Pirlo will no doubt be pulling the strings for Cesare Prandelli's side having only ranked second to PSG's Nene of players to have set up the most chances last season. France's Mathieu Valbuena will hope his creative exploits for Marseille will put him contention for a start in Laurent Blanc's XI, while David Silva and Mesut Ozil are likely to play key creative roles for the tournament's two favourites Spain and Germany, with the former also having Juan Mata's 102 key passes to fall back on.
Franck Ribery's dribbling exploits will be well-known to opposing managers and the Frenchman will be targetted by full-backs this summer; whether they can stop a man who completed 33 more dribbles than anyone else at the tournament last season is another matter. Germany have an extremely youthful squad and the likes of Schurrle and Reus, who rank 2nd and 3rd here, will offer a real threat from the bench, with Italy's Sebastian Giovinco perhaps also more likely to play a cameo role at the start of the tournament. Cristiano Ronaldo pops up again here having completed 73 dribbles in La Liga last season and he will undoubtedly be the key to Portugal if they are to escape the dreaded 'Group of Death'.
Perhaps the least surprising leader of all here, Spain's pass master Xavi tops the charts of players at the tournament for pass accuracy. The safety first approach of Xavi's defensive teammate Busquets and Netherlands anchor Nigel de Jong see them rank extremely highly, with former England captain John Terry the shock inclusion having completed 91.3% of his passes for Chelsea last season. France's Samir Nasri completes the top 5 having shown incredibly assured distribution in his first season at Man City, and he may be les Bleus' link between midfield and attack this summer.
Much-maligned England forward Andy Carroll won more aerial duels than any other player in Europe's top 5 leagues last season and, despite a disappointing goalscoring record, will pose an unwanted and unfamiliar threat to defences at the tournament if he is to feature. France's reserve target man Giroud ranks second and along with Kyriakos Papadopoulos here (4th) is one of only 3 players to feature in the top 5 for two different categories. Croatia's Mario Mandzukic splits the aforementioned pair, with Alou Diarra in 5th proving that France's will have a physically intimidating side under Blanc.
Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye's appearance at the top of this leaderboard mean's that France have a player in the top 5 for all of the categories analysed here, standing them in good stead after a farcical World Cup campaign in 2010. Germany centre-back Mats Hummels is just behind the Frenchman and joined by Spain's Xabi Alonso on 109, with Greece youngster Papadopoulos an impressive fourth. England's Scott Parker's presence means Hodgson's men a player in 4 of the 6 departments here.