Thursday, 6 September 2012

Casillas and Xavi, Príncipe de Asturias awards for sport

Beat the International Paralympic Committee by 11 votes to 7
MADRID Spain's two football 'monsters' (a Spanish superlative, but there's several of them), Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernández have obtained the country's premier award, the Príncipe de Asturias, for sport. The nomination and announcement from the jury said that it had been given them for being a model example of sportsmanship and team playing above and beyond their team and fan rivalries (Casillas plays for Real Madrid, and Xavi for Barcelona, traditional rivals). The jury, presided by tennis star Arantxa Sánchez Vicario and meeting in>>>PLEASE BE AWARE THAT YOU WILL SOON BE UNABLE TO READ THE REST OF ITEMS SUCH AS THIS WITHOUT A SUBSCRIPTION. Subscription information will be available shortly.>>>
Oviedo, Asturias, voted their joint nomination by eleven votes against seven for that of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

Casillas and Xavi are the first to have twice won the award in the 32 year history of the Príncipe de Asturias awards, Spain's equivalent of the Nobel. They both were awarded it as members of the national team that won the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, in 2010.

"Having obtained some of the world's top titles in their club teams and the national team," says the citation, "both players are an example of clean play that is admired by everyone ... together they have shown a conciliatory attitude that has done much to minimize the traditional rivalry between their two clubs and their fans.

Iker and Xavi have been lose friends since they were on the under-20s national team that won that category's World Cup in Nigeria in 1999. Time and a commonality of interests and achievements have brought that friendship even closer.

Both players heard of the award yesterday morning at the national teams headquarters in the Ciudad del Fútbol in Las Rozas. Characteristically, they were quick to say that this was not a prize for them only, but also to a whole generation of Spanish players.

"We have known each other for a long time," said Iker at the press conference following the announcement. "We may be the most visible but there are many players behind us who knew how to make little of the differences that happened over the years [meaning their clubs' sometimes ferocious animosities]."

"The prize is a recognition of our work," said Xavi, for his part. "It is also a prize for our generation, for our friendship. We have played together as part of the Spanish team for fifteen years, in the younger categories and later at the top."

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