Spain midfielder Xavi was named by UEFA on Monday as the best player at Euro 2008. Spain beat Germany 1-0 in the final on Sunday to win their first major title in 44 years.
Xavi was key to Spain’s triumph thanks to his superb short passing game and ability to break down opposition attacks. The 28-year-old Barcelona player started in five games at the finals and scored once.
Villa is top scorer
Spanish striker David Villa may not have played in the final but he still finished as leading scorer in the tournament with four goals. <b1>
The Valencia marksman — who was injured and unable to play in the final — opened his account with a hat-trick in the 4-1 win over Russia in the group stage and added another against Sweden, also in the first round.
The overall record is held by French football legend Michel Platini - now president of UEFA - with nine in the 1984 edition which France won beating Spain.
UEFA also announced the best 23 players of the tournament which included besides Xavi, the Russian strike force of Andrei Arshavin and Roman Pavlyuchenko.
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Iker Casillas (Spain), Edwin van der Sar (Netherlands).
Defenders: Jose Bosingwa (Portugal), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Carlos Marchena (Spain), Pepe (Portugal), Carles Puyol (Spain), Yuri Zhirkov (Russia).
Midfielders: 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 (Netherlands).
Forwards: Andrei Arshavin (Russia), Roman Pavlyuchenko (Russia), Fernando Torres (Spain), David Villa (Spain).
Lehmann blames referee for loss
The German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has accused Euro 2008 final referee Roberto Rosetti of being “biased” during Spain’s 1-0 victory in Vienna on Sunday night. Although Lehmann conceded that Spain were worthy winners of the title, he was far from impressed by Rosetti’s display, especially the handling of the incident when Spain’s David Silva appeared to butt Lukas Podolski’s head.
“What was disappointing in my opinion was the performance of the referee, who didn’t really fancy us Germans,” said Lehmann. “He was very arrogant and in my opinion he was biased. He clearly saw a head-butt from a Spanish player towards Lukas Podolski — he didn’t book him or give him a red card. Just before the end, we had a good chance in the penalty area — and all of a sudden, he gave a foul against us where even the Spanish players were surprised to get a free-kick. “It was very disappointing.”