Xavi Hernandez of Spain has been named the best player of UEFA European Football Championship 2008.
The 28-year-old midfielder played in five of Spain's six games on its way to winning the title. He scored in the 3-0 semifinal win against Russia.
Xavi was chosen Monday by nine experienced coaches in UEFA's panel of technical experts for the three-week tournament. The selection also took account fans voting online.
The voters praised Xavi's ability to dictate the tempo of games.
Xavi plays for club side Barcelona. He played his 63rd match for Spain on Sunday in its 1-0 victory over Germany in the Euro 2008 final in Vienna.
Xavier Hernández Creus (born January 25, 1980, Terrassa, Catalonia, Spain), normally known as Xavi is a Spanish footballer who plays in central midfield for Barcelona. He currently plays for FC Barcelona and has been capped 60 times for the Spanish national team. He played for his country at 2000 Summer Olympics, 2002 World Cup, Euro 2004, 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008.
Xavi won his first Spanish cap on November 15, 2000 against the Netherlands and has since been a regular fixture in the Spanish squad. His trip to the World Cup was in doubt due to a knee ligament injury, but he recovered in time and was named as part of Luis Aragonés' squad. His importance to the team was summed up by Aragonés when he said, "People say it is a gamble to take Xavi with us, but I say it would be a crazy gamble to leave him at home." Xavi was named Man of the Match in Spain's first match against Ukraine and played in all of Spain's other three matches, before they were knocked out in the second round.
He was selected in Spain's squad for Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, and scored the opening goal in the 50th minute in the semi-final against Russia national football team. He played the full duration of the final of Euro 2008 in Spain's 1–0 win over Germany. Xavi Hernández has been named as the Castrol Player of the Tournament for UEFA EURO 2008.
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