Spain midfielder Xavi has been named the best player of Euro 2008.
The Barcelona player scored the opener in the semi-final win over Russia and set up Fernando Torres for Spain’s winning goal in the final against Germany.
Xavi, 28, was one of nine Spanish players selected among a team of 23 by a panel of Uefa technical experts.
One notable absentee from the list was Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who came into the tournament feted as the best player in the world.
Uefa technical director Andy Roxburgh explained that Ronaldo’s absence was because Portugal’s exit at the quarter-final stage.
“Of course he was mentioned – and if Portugal had gone further, there’s no argument he has been in this group because he’s a fantastic player,” said Uefa technical director Andy Roxburgh.
“He was in our Champions League all-star squad for the season – and at the beginning of the tournament he threatened he was going to be in this one.
“But then it came abruptly to an end. When it comes to a squad of the tournament, those that go to semis and final dominate things like this.”
Regarding the selection of Xavi and eight other Spaniards, Roxburgh added: “Xavi epitomised the Spanish style of play. He was extremely influential.
“We are not all that surprised – because for more than a decade now, the top youth teams in Europe have been Spanish; we have been watching Xavi and others in this squad from a very young age.”
Euro 2008 team of the tournament
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Iker Casillas (Spain), Edwin van der Sar (Netherlands).
Defenders: 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 Hernandez (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).