Spain midfielder Xavi Hernández was awarded with the Castrol Player of the Tournament trophy for UEFA EURO 2008™ on Monday in recognition of the stirring displays that helped his country to the title in June. The ceremony took place in Madrid at the Ciudad del Futbol, HQ of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). The award was handed over by RFEF president and UEFA Exco member, Angel María Villar Llona on behalf of UEFA and sponsors Castrol.
The 28-year-old FC Barcelona player appeared in five matches in Austria and Switzerland, 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 cast on players in the top ten of the Castrol Performance Index. 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."
The 1-0 final victory against 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.
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