Iniesta claims his crown
KIEV: Andres Iniesta, who helped Spain to a second successive European Championship triumph in Poland and Ukraine, was named the best player at the tournament by UEFA on Monday.
The 28-year-old – who was man of the match in Spain’s historic 4-0 win over Italy in Sunday’s final – was selected by a technical committee made up of 11 people.
Whilst the Barcelona star failed to score and set up just one of the Spaniards goals throughout the tournament, he won the award for his overall influence and effect on the Spanish attacking play.
However, his one assist was a crucial one as it set up Jesus Navas for the only goal in the final group game against Croatia, while his pass to Cesc Fabregas led to the first goal in the final.
Andy Roxburgh, the head of UEFA’s technical group, told reporters, “Andrea Pirlo was magnificent for Italy. Xavi won it last time and could have won it again. Xabi Alonso was magnificent, but Iniesta sends a message about creative and incisive football and was superb throughout.”
There were also a couple of surprise selections in an otherwise predictable squad; as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Steven Gerrard were also selected in the squad, becoming the only two players to not reach the semi finals stage and still mange to be selected.
The UEFA squad of Euro 2012:
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Iker Casillas (Spain), Manuel Neuer (Germany)
Defenders: Gerard Pique (Spain), Fabio Coentrao (Portugal), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Pepe (Portugal), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Jordi Alba (Spain)
Midfielders: Daniele De Rossi (Italy), Steven Gerrard (England), Xavi (Spain), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Sami Khedira (Germany), Sergio Busquets (Spain), Mesut Ozil (Germany), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Xabi Alonso (Spain)
Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Italy), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Zlatan Ibrahimovoic (Sweden), David Silva (Spain)