Xavi emerges as EURO's top man
Spain midfielder Xavi Hernández has been named the Castrol Player of the Tournament for UEFA EURO 2008™ after his stirring displays helped his country to the title.
Technicians' approvalThe 28-year-old FC Barcelona player appeared in five matches at the finals, scoring once in the semi-final against Russia, as Spain earned their first major international success since beating the Soviet Union to win the 1964 UEFA European Championship. His ability to dictate the pace of the game from midfield brought him to the attention of the UEFA Technical Team who decide upon the Castrol Player of the Tournament, taking into account votes from the public. UEFA technical director Andy Roxburgh said: "We chose him because we think he epitomises the Spanish style of play. He was extremely influential in the whole possession, passing, penetrating kind of game that Spain played."
Growing reputationThe 1-0 final victory over Germany in Vienna marked Xavi's 63rd cap for Spain since his debut – made together with team-mate Carles Puyol – against the Netherlands on 15 November 2000. He had been an unused squad player with Spain at UEFA EURO 2004™ in Portugal but was a first-team regular by the time of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, and showed maturity and no small amount of brilliance in Austria and Switzerland.