FC Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernández will receive the uefa.com users' Team of the Year 2008 award of €100,000 before the start of his side's first knockout round second leg against Olympique Lyonnais this evening.
Supporting landmine victims
Xavi, a mainstay of the Barcelona team and one of the heroes of Spain's march to the UEFA EURO 2008™ title in Austria and Switzerland last summer, will pick up the award in the form of a cheque from William Gaillard, adviser to UEFA President Michel Platini. Xavi – captain of the uefa.com users' 2008 Team of the Year – will use it to Score for the Red Cross in support of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) rehabilitation project for land-mine victims in Afghanistan. (Click here for more details).
The UEFA EURO 2008™ Score for the Red Cross humanitarian campaign proved to be a resounding success, with just over €500,000 collected. The tally of 77 goals at UEFA EURO 2008™ meant that €308,000 was gathered from UEFA alone. European football's governing body had pledged to donate €4,000 for each goal scored in the tournament. In addition, more than €200,000 was contributed by fans in the web-driven campaign.
According to Christoph Harnisch, head of the ICRC external resources division, Xavi's involvement in promoting the Red Cross rehabilitation project for landmine victims in Afghanistan is crucial. "It is a real encouragement to us," he said. "I have been in many countries where there are wars and conflicts, and I have met a lot of youngsters in very difficult situations, and all of them in a way like football. There is a man, a patient in our rehabilitation centre in Kabul, who said to us: 'When I play football I forget my handicap and the war.' Football, and somebody like Xavi, do give hope and for us it is really great to have such a player involved."
"I am very pleased and honoured that, on behalf of UEFA, I will present a cheque for €100,000 to FC Barcelona's Xavi as captain of the uefa.com users' Team of the Year 2008," said William Gaillard. "It is also significant that this money will be going to one of our long-standing partners, the ICRC, and to their campaign to support land-mine victims in Afghanistan."
Click here for more details of UEFA's Team of the Year for 2008.
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