Xavi Voted Euro 2008 Top Player

June 30, 2008 7:54:38 AM PDT
Xavi Hernandez was voted player of the tournament after Spain's 1-0 victory over Germany in the European Championship final and UEFA selected nine of the Spanish players on the 23-member team of Euro 2008. There was no place on the squad for Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese star who scored 43 goals for Manchester United last season and is a leading candidate for FIFA player of the year, after he failed to reproduce his best form.

Andy Roxburgh, the former Scotland coach who is head of UEFA's Technical Committee, said that Spain's superior technical ability at the championship had earned the title for Luis Aragones' team.

"We have chosen Xavi because he epitomizes the Spanish style of play. He was extremely influential in the whole possession, passing and penetrating kind of game that Spain played," Roxburgh said Monday, the day after the final in Vienna's Ernst Happel stadium.

Roxburgh said that the nine-man technical committee, which also included former national team coaches such as Gerard Houllier and Roy Hodgson, did not include players from teams who were eliminated in group play, such as France.

Explaining Ronaldo's absence, Roxburgh said he was a member of an impressive Portugal team which reached the quarterfinals but then lost 3-2 to Germany. Ronaldo could have been included if the team had made it to the semifinals and he had played well. But the only Portuguese players in the squad were defenders Jose Bosingwa and Pepe.

Runner-up Germany, which made its sixth Euro final but has not won an international title since the 1996 European Championship, had three players on the squad - defender Philipp Lahm, captain Michael Ballack and attacking midfielder Lukas Podolski, who scored three goals.