Spain's Andres Iniesta named UEFA's player of Euro 2012



By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor 



Barcelona's Iniesta featured in all of Spain's six matches at the tournament including the final victory over Italy in which he starred prominently 


Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta has been named player of the Euro 2012 tournament in Poland & Ukraine by governing body UEFA.  

The 28-year old Barcelona man was selected by UEFA's technical committee after helping Spain to beat Italy 4-0 in Sunday's final in Kiev and producing a string of consistent performances as La Roja were crowned European champions once again whilst becoming the first nation to win three consecutive major tournaments.

"Picking Iniesta sends a message about creativity, incisive football and humility," Uefa technical director Andy Roxburgh said.

Iniesta stressed before the final that he was more concerned with Spanish success than individual accolades, but has received praise from team-mate Cesc Fabregas who said: "He's a source of immense confidence for us. During matches you can see him taking on more and more responsibility. He's creative, he runs with the ball, he's got a brilliant final pass and with each passing year he's become more of a goalscorer as well as a provider."

Italy's Andrea Pirlo had been regarded as the favourite to take the player prize before the Kiev showpiece but Iniesta has been given the nod by a technical committee made up of eleven people.

Spain also had ten players named in the 23-man squad of the tournament, with England's Steven Gerrard also included. Steven Gerrard is the only England player to make the list after leading the Three Lions to the quarter-finals, where they lost to Italy on penalties. Roxburgh added: "Gerrard played really, really well and showed great leadership qualities. Pirlo was magnificent, Xavi could easily have won again (as at Euro 2008) and Xabi Alonso was excellent."

Iniesta, who scored in the 1-0 win over Holland in the final of the 2010 World Cup, played every game for Spain in the tournament.

He was named in the team of the tournament at the last World Cup as well as Euro 2008, where he played almost the full match of Spain's 1-0 win over Germany in the final.

Iniesta has been just as inspirational for his club as he has for Spain, helping Barcelona to two Champions League and three La Liga titles in the last four years.

Liverpool midfielder Gerrard and Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic were the only selections in the team of the tournament from sides that did not reach the semi-finals.

Others to be recognised for their performances in Poland and Ukraine include Italy's Andrea Pirlo and Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo.


UEFA's Euro 2012 team of the tournament

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 Ibrahimovic (Sweden), David Silva (Spain)  


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