Spain’s Rodri Named Best Player of the 2024 European Championships, Lamine Yamal Named Best Young Player

Rodri is officially the best

The 28-year-old Spanish professional footballer, who plays as a defensive midfielder for Premier League club Manchester City and the Spain national team, has been named as the best player of the European Championships, with team-mate Lamine Yamal winning the best young player of the tournament award.

RodriRodri started in six of his nation’s seven matches throughout the tournament, only sitting out the final group stage victory — which Spain 1-0, having already qualified for the last 16 stage.

Rodri man was influential for his nation throughout Euro 2024, even scoring in the round-of-16 victory over Georgia.

Rodri was taken off injured at halftime in the final after suffering hamstring discomfort in the first half, being replaced by Martin Zubimendi of Real Sociedad.

Meanwhile, Barcelona forward Yamal — who had a tournament-high four assists — was named as the young player of the European Championships, awarded to the best player aged 22 or younger, having celebrated his 17th birthday on Saturday.

His Barcelona teammate Pedri, who was injured in the quarterfinal victory over Germany, won the award in Euro 2020.

Spain defeated England 2-1 in the final with goals from Nico Williams and Mikel Oyarzabal. Luis de la Fuente’s side had previously defeated hosts Germany and pre-tournament favorites France on their path to Sunday’s decider in Berlin.

Rodri’s award caps off his successful club season as he helped Manchester City to win the Premier League title, with the only defeat in which he played for club or country throughout the season the FA Cup final loss to Manchester United in late May.

Dani Olmo Among Six Players Sharing Euro 2024 Golden Boot Award

It’s the golden hour for Dani Olmo

The 26-year-old Spanish professional footballer, who plays for Bundesliga club RB Leipzig and the Spain national team, is among six players who’ve shared the Euro 2024 Golden Boot, having all scored three goals during the tournament.

Dani OlmoOlmo is sharing the European Championships top-scorer prize with Harry Kane (England), Cody Gakpo (Netherlands), Georges Mikautadze (Georgia), Jamal Musiala (Germany) and Ivan Schranz (Slovakia) make up the congested leaderboard.

Olmo and Kane couldn’t pull clear of the pack with a goal in Sunday’s final which Spain won 2-1 against England.

UEFA confirmed on Friday that they would share the Euro 2024 Golden Boot between six players if Sunday’s final between England and Spain failed to produce a clear winner of the trophy.

It marked a change in policy for the tournament organizers who had previously awarded the prize to the player who had registered the most assists when more than one player were tied for goals scored.

At Euro 2020, Cristiano Ronaldo won the Golden Boot, though he had scored the same amount of goals as Czechia‘s Patrik Schick (5), the Portugal forward had also contributed one assist.

Three goals is the lowest tally for a Golden Boot winner since Euro 2012 when Fernando Torres (Spain), Mario Gomez (Germany) and Alan Dzagoev (Russia) all ended the tournament with three goals.

Torres was awarded the golden boot that year as he played fewer minutes than the other players who had scored three goals.

Olmo started just three of Spain’s seven matches at Euro 2024, before taking Barcelona midfielder Pedri‘s place in the team after he was injured in the quarterfinal victory over hosts Germany.

The RB Leipzig midfielder scored in all three of Spain’s matches in the knockout rounds before Sunday’s final.

Spain’s Lamine Yamal Becomes Youngest Player to Score at Men’s European Championship

Lamine Yamal has earned a place in soccer history…

Spain coach Luis de la Fuente lauded the “genius” of the 16-year-old Spanish soccer phenom after he became the youngest player to score at a men’s European Championship on Tuesday when he scored in Spain’s 2-1 semifinal win against 2018 World Cup winners France.

Lamine YamalYamal cancelled out Randal Kolo Muani‘s opening goal with a stunning 21st-minute strike from 25 meters that was clocked at 102 km/h (60 mph) on its way past France goalkeeper Mike Maignan. 

Dani Olmo added Spain’s second four minutes later to complete the comeback and set up a final in Berlin on Sunday against either England or the Netherlands.

“We have seen a genius, the product of a genius,” de la Fuente said in a news conference. “He’s a player we have to take care of — I have to give him the advice to keep working with the same humility and keep his feet on the floor.

“He will keep growing, but his maturity and attitude at such a young age is already like that of a more experienced player. We are lucky he is Spanish and we can enjoy him for many more years.”

Yamal’s first goal of the tournament — he also has three assists — made him the youngest player to score at the men’s Euros at 16 years and 362 days old. The previous youngest scorer was Swiss player Johan Vonlanthen (18 years, 141 days), also against France, at Euro 2004.

It was the second significant record set at the finals by the Barcelona teenager, who had already become the youngest to feature at a Euros at 16 years and 338 days old when he took to the field for Spain’s Group B win over Croatia.

“I’m thrilled that we are in the final, but we still haven’t done the most important thing, which is win it,” said Yamal, who will turn 17 on Saturday, the eve of the final.

“We were in a difficult moment [when I scored], we didn’t expect to concede so soon. I was aiming for exactly the top corner where my shot went in and it was just a feeling of pure elation.

“I try not to think too much about what’s going on. I just want to enjoy myself and help the team. I came here to win all the matches so that I could celebrate my birthday here in Germany with all of my teammates.”

Yamal also appeared to respond to France midfielder Adrien Rabiot, who had said before the game the youngster would have to do more than he had done so far at Euro 2024 if he wanted to reach the final.

The Spain winger posted a cryptic social media post shortly after those comments on Monday, saying “speak only when it’s time to say checkmate.”

When the final whistle blew on Spain’s win over France at the Allianz Arena, Yamal said clearly to the camera: “Speak now, speak now.”

Asked who that message was for, he added: “It was for the person who it was for, they will know it was for them.”

Spain have now won all six of their matches at the Euros so far, with their style of football also earning praise in comparison to what has been perceived as a more defensive setup from pre-tournament favorites France and England.

“We try to give the players an idea, a model to follow and that makes us strong,” de la Fuente said. “We want to get the best out of these players. Everyone has to do what they believe their team can do.

“Our team has these characteristics, versatility, but fundamentally the players we have allow us to do it. We know the players and that allows us to play in different ways.

“The idea of football comes from being convinced by your ideas. It’s not chance. We want to play at what the players are good at. ”

de la Fuente also played down a possible injury to captain Álvaro Morata, who was knocked over by a steward in the celebrations, saying the striker should be fine for the final, with Dani Carvajal anRobin Le Normand also set to return from suspension.

Arsenal F.C. Complete Permanent Signing of David Raya from Brentford

David Raya is making things permanent

Arsenal F.C. has completed the permanent signing of the 28-year-old Spanish professional footballer from Brentford, the club has confirmed.

David RayaArsenal paid an initial £3 million ($3.8m) to take Raya on loan last season and have now triggered an option worth £27m ($34.3m) to sign him on a long-term contract.

Raya kept 20 clean sheets in 41 appearances last season and won the Premier League Golden Glove award as Arsenal finished runners-up to Manchester City.

“After a year on loan as a Gunner, I can finally say that I’m an Arsenal player for the coming years,” Raya said.

“I’m excited to see what the future holds but always living in and enjoying the present. It’s a dream come true to be here and I want to thank you for all the support you have already given me throughout the last year.”

The deal for Raya — although widely expected — casts further doubt over the future of Aaron Ramsdale, who has been linked with a move to Newcastle but has put any talks on hold while with England at Euro 2024.

“David showed us last season what an important player he is for us, so we are delighted he is now officially our player,” Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said. “He is a big presence in our dressing room and we are really pleased to keep working with him.

“We know he will take the strong foundations he put in place last season and build on them in the years to come, and that he will enjoy more success with us.

“We have a very talented group of goalkeepers and I love to see connections like the one I see in our goalkeeping unit.”

Sporting director Edu added: “David’s signing is another strong example of our recruitment strategy in action, as we continue to build a team that will challenge for major trophies.

“We know there’s so much more to come from him and we are excited that he will continue to be a big part of the journey we are all on.”

Rodri Helps Lead Spain to Victory Over Georgia to Advance to Euro 2024 Quarterfinals

Rodri helps Spain continue its winnings ways…

The 28-year-old Spanish professional footballer scored a goal as three-time champions Spain survived an early scare to beat a spirited Georgia 4-1 on Sunday and reach the Euro 2024 quarterfinals, bringing an end to their opponent’s fairytale run.

Spain, Euro 2024La Roja will meet hosts Germany in the quarterfinals after a polished performance, with goals from Rodri, Fabián RuizNico Williams and Dani Olmo in Cologne.

They had gone behind in the 18th minute when Robin Le Normand turned Otar Kakabadze‘s bouncing cross into his own net.

“We are very happy to get through to the quarterfinals, very excited,” Williams said after the match. “Step-by-step we have shown that we are a great team and if we continue at this level we can do great things. Their goal was a mistake, it was unintentional, we all cheered Robin on and in the end we are all pleased and happy.

“[Germany will be] very difficult, they’re a tough nut to crack, but we have a wonderful, well-structured team and if we play at this level we can win.”

Spain had a perfect record in the group stage with three wins and no goals conceded, their best start since 2008, when they went on to win the tournament.

Coach Luis de la Fuente brought his first choices back into the starting lineup having made 10 changes in the final group game, while Georgia kept faith with a side that included the tournament’s joint top scorer, Georges Mikautadze, and its leading shot-stopper, Giorgi Mamardashvili.

Playing in their maiden Euros, Georgia were riding a wave of euphoria and seeking an unlikely Iberian double after last week’s staggering 2-0 win over Portugal sent them into the knockout rounds.

Spain were dominant from the outset and almost went ahead five minutes in, when Dani Carvajal‘s cross from the right found Pedri, who forced an early save from Mamardashvili.

Williams came close soon after when his goal-bound shot was deflected wide of the target.

But Georgia stunned Spain when they went ahead as Mikautadze found Kakabadze on the right and he whipped in an early cross that struck Le Normand and bounced into the net.

Spain kept their cool and equalized after 39 minutes when Williams picked out Rodri, who fired a low shot into the corner.

They made it 2-1 six minutes after the break when a magnificent Lamine Yamal curling cross was headed home by Fabian Ruiz.

Williams killed off any hope of a Georgia comeback with a superbly taken strike in the 75th before substitute Olmo completed the rout with seven minutes left.

Georgia’s French coach Willy Sagnol said his team now had time to sit back and reflect on the amazing feat they had achieved.

“The squad has been absolutely fantastic. I’m very proud of that,” he said. “I’m very proud of what the players have done in the last months. Now it’s the end of a journey, but I’m sure the next one will also be very exciting.”

Nacho Fernandez Set to Sign with Saudi Pro League’s Al Qadsiah

Nacho Fernandez is heading to the Middle East

The 34-year-old Spanish professional footballer and Real Madrid captain is set to sign with Al Qadsiah in the Saudi Pro League, per ESPN sources.

Nacho FernandezESPN reported earlier this month that defender Nacho — who is on international duty with Spain at Euro 2024 — was in advanced talks with another Saudi sideAl Ittihad.

However, the centre-back was then offered a deal by Al Qadsiah and, keen to have his future resolved as soon as possible, has decided to accept, a source said.

Nacho has won a joint-club record 26 trophies with Madrid, having joined the club at the age of 11 and come through the academy.

His contract at Madrid is due to expire at the end of this month and he had spent recent weeks considering his future.

Nacho captained Madrid to a Champions League and LaLiga double this season, having come close to leaving the club in the summer of 2023 before opting to stay.

The defender had a strong end to the season and was rewarded with a Spain call-up, starting their Euro 2024 opening win against Croatia last week, before missing their victory over Italy on Thursday with a minor injury.

Nacho is one of just five players — with Madrid’s Luka ModricToni Kroos, Dani Carvajal and Paco Gento — to have won six

He had previously been linked with a switch to Major League Soccer (MLS), but has now chosen to move to Saudi Arabia.

Al Qadsiah won promotion to the Saudi top flight last season and are coached by the former Real Madrid player Michel Gonzalez.

Spain’s Lamine Yamal Becomes Youngest Player to Ever Feature at European Championship

Lamine Yamal has etched his name in the European soccer history books…

The 16-year-old Spanish soccer player became the youngest player to ever feature at the European Championship on Saturday in Spain‘s Group B win against Croatia in Berlin.

Lamine YamalAt 16 years and 338 days old, Yamal takes the record from Poland midfielder Kacper Kozłowski, who was 17 years and 246 days old when he came off at the bench at Euro 2020 (which was played in 2021 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic) against Spain.

That was the second time in the tournament the record had fallen, with England‘s Jude Bellingham having previously bettered the mark set by Netherlands left-back Jetro Willems at Euro 2012.

“He just keeps on breaking records,” Spain coach Luis de la Fuente said of Yamal in his post-game news conference. “He’s growing, maturing and getting better every day.

“He’s on the path to be a great player, but he’s very young and we have to be patient with him.”

Yamal set up Spain’s third goal in the 3-0 win over Croatia, providing an excellent cross for Dani Carvajal as the three-time champions got their tournament off to the best possible start.

“I’m very happy for the win, for the debut and now we change our focus to the next game,” Yamal said afterward. “In the end, the team wants to play inside and I’m here to help the team, to defend, whatever it takes.

“We are a very efficient team because the work we’ve put in over the last few months has shown today.”

While Yamal became the youngest ever player in Euros history, Carvajal’s goal made him Spain’s oldest ever goal scorer in the tournament at 32-years-old.

Captain Álvaro Morata and Fabián Ruiz also scored as Spain cruised in the first half, but were frustrated in a largely uneventful second period.

It is the latest in a string of age-related records broken by Yamal and more could follow at Euro 2024 in Germany.

A goal at any stage of the finals would see him surpass Johan Vonlanthen as the competition’s youngest ever scorer.

Switzerland‘s Vonlanthen was 18 years and 141 days old when he netted at Euro 2004, just four days after England’s Wayne Rooney had briefly become the youngest scorer ever in the European Championship.

Meanwhile, Bellingham is the youngest player to have ever played a knockout game at 18 years and four days, slightly younger than Spain’s Pedri and Germany‘s Jamal Musiala were at the same tournament, Euro 2020.

Portugal‘s Renato Sanches is the youngest player to have played in the final at 18 years and 328 days old — Yamal will turn 17 the day before the final in Berlin.

Barcelona winger Yamal is already the youngest player to start and score in LaLiga, while he also became the youngest player to appear in a Champions League knockout game earlier this year against Napoli.

Despite his age, he is a regular for club and country. He made 50 appearances for Barça in all competitions in the 2023-2024 season, scoring seven goals and setting up 10 more.

He made his senior debut for Spain last September, becoming the youngest player to play and score for La Roja in a win against Georgia, and earned his eighth cap for his country in Saturday’s game against Croatia.