Andres Iniesta has been honored as best player of the European Championship after helping Spain become the first nation to successfully defend the continental crown.

The 28-year-old playmaker started all six of Spain's matches, including Sunday's 4-0 final victory over Italy at the Olympic Stadium in which he recorded an assist.

UEFA technical director Andy Roxbuirgh says: ''Iniesta deserved it. He symbolized the tournament - the creative, incisive runner, with and without the ball. We felt that he epitomized a lot of what we saw.''

Roxbuirgh says UEFA's panel also considered Spain midfielders Xavi Hernandez and Xabi Alonso and Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo for the award.