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Euro 2008: Top Five Midfielders

1. Xavi (Spain) – The 28-year-old was named the Player of the Tournament at Euro 2008.  His timely goals, precise passes, and possession on the ball from his midfield role propelled Spain onward.  He is now in the prime of his career; his brilliance will continue to be cultivated for both club and country.

2. Michael Ballack (Germany) – Always the bridesmaid including in this list, Ballack poured everything he possibly had into this tournament.  He ended Euro 2008 with two goals; both came at crucial times.  He scored in the win versus Austria as well as the upset of Portugal in the first phase of the knockout round.  He should compete at the 2010 World Cup.

3. Marcos Senna (Spain) – The 31-year-old Spanish midfielder is a Brazilian import.  With roughly ten caps prior to Euro 2008, Senna was brilliant in the midfield throughout the tournament.  He assisted the back four with class, and when attacking, his long passes often found their targets.  Known as a penalty specialist in La Liga, he scored in the penalty shootout versus Italy

4. Tuncay Şanlı (Turkey) – Another player who shuttled between positions for the Turkish team, the 26-year-old makes the list for his midfield performances versus the Czech Republic and Croatia.  He has a tireless motor and a presence on the field.  When the Turkish keeper was sent off in the final moments against the Czech Republic, the Middlesbrough player immediately dawned the keeper’s gear.  His club stock rose significantly at Euro 2008.  Throughout the torunament, he set up goals, organized the midfield, and encouraged his teammates.

5. Lukas Podolski (Germany) – The forward turned left midfielder for Germany entered the tournament with his confidence shaken due to last season’s ordeal at FC Bayern Munich.  He earned back a measure of respectability after his performance at the torunement.  His goals in the group stage helped the team gain crucial momentum.