Xavi wins Euro 2008 gong

Image: Xavi: Star of the show at Euro 2008

Xavi has been named as the Player of Euro 2008 after inspiring Spain to glory in Austria and Switzerland.

Spain midfielder named Player of the Tournament

Xavi has been named as the Player of Euro 2008 after inspiring Spain to glory in Austria and Switzerland. The Barcelona midfielder was judged to be the central figure in Spain's success as Uefa made their decision on Sunday evening. "It was him who gave the team its tempo," said Uefa technical director Andy Roxburgh. Xavi made five appearances in the tournament, missing only the 2-1 victory over Greece in Spain's final group game as qualification to the quarter-finals had already been assured. He scored the opening goal against Russia in the last four and was consistently impressive in all Spain's other matches. The 28-year-old was again a key player in Vienna on Sunday as Spain secured a 1-0 final win against Germany. Xavi, who has now played in 63 internationals, provided a precise pass for Fernando Torres to score the crucial goal.

Squad

Uefa have also announced their 23-man squad of the tournament and, not surprisingly, Spain are the best represented country with nine players. Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas and Torres of Liverpool have both been included, along with top scorer David Villa. Germany have three players in the list, while semi-finalists Russia have four. Six Premier League stars have made the cut, with Michael Ballack, Edwin van der Sar, Jose Bosingwa and Luka Modric joining Fabregas and Torres. However, there is no place in the squad for Portugal and Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo.
Influential
Roxburgh felt Xavi stood out from the successful Spain squad. He added: "We think he epitomised the Spanish style of play - he was extremely influential. "We are not all that surprised, because for more than a decade now the top youth teams in Europe have been Spanish and we have been watching Xavi and others in this squad from a very young age. "Torres scored the winner in a youth final, and Fabregas was the star of the under-17s. In this tournament, Fabregas' influence in the periods when he did play was extremely significant." Roxburgh added that Torres has proved himself one of the top players in Europe. "Clearly he's a match-winner - he's a fantastic front player - very fast, powerful, brave and he's a finisher. His movement is excellent as well," said Roxburgh. "To say anyone is the best player in the world is a difficult one, but he is one of the big talents we have in European football." He also singled out Germany captain Ballack for praise. "Ballack was a major influence on Germany all the way to the final and he scored the best set-play goal of the competition with his free-kick against Austria," said Roxburgh.

Uefa squad of Euro 2008

Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Iker Casillas (Spain), Edwin van der Sar (Holland); Jose Bosingwa (Portugal), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Carlos Marchena (Spain), Pepe (Portugal), Carles Puyol (Spain), Yuri Zhirkov (Russia); Hamit Altintop (Turkey), Luka Modric (Croatia), Marcos Senna (Spain), Xavi (Spain), Konstantin Zyryanov (Russia), Michael Ballack (Germany), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Lukas Podolski (Germany), Wesley Sneijder (Holland); Andrei Arshavin (Russia), Roman Pavlyuchenko (Russia), Fernando Torres (Spain), David Villa (Spain).

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