Euro 2012: Why Jordi Alba Was Spain's Player of the Tournament

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Euro 2012: Why Jordi Alba Was Spain's Player of the Tournament
Martin Rose/Getty Images

Tonight (or this afternoon, depending on where you're reading this), Spain successfully defended their European Championship crown by beating Italy 4-0 to win Euro 2012.

It was a scintillating display of pace, skill and free-flowing football.

There was something different about Spain tonight than we'd seen previously in the tournament.

They wanted to go out and prove why they're the best team in the world right now, and boy, did they ever do it.

The strength in depth that they have is frightening.

There are players on their bench that could start on any other national football team, and they were missing Carlos Puyol and David Villa through injuries!

While most of the plaudits for their success at Euro 2012 will rightly go to their midfielders like Xabi Alonso, Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Sergio Busquets, for me, the best player of the entire tournament was full-back Jordi Alba.

I'll hold my hands up and say that before the tournament started, I hadn't really seen much of him.

In Poland and Ukraine, Alba was the stand-out player.

Spain are a team full of excellent players, but Alba's drive, determination, pace, skill and awareness made him stand out above all others.

In every game he played in, for me, he stood out more than the other Spanish players I've mentioned.

Let me explain what I mean.

We expect players like Iniesta, Xavi, Fabregas and Alonso to run games from start to finish, and for the most part, they did that again.

Going into Euro 2012, I'm not sure that the same thing was expected from Jordi Alba, but his performances stand up there with those of the "superstar" midfielders on display.

Coming out of the tournament, Spain look set to continue to dominate world football and, having just completed a move to Barcelona, Jordi Alba looks likely to add to his medal haul before the next World Cup kicks off in 2014.

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