Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernández during the European Championship this summer.
The jury has chosen to give the prestigious Prince of Asturias award for sports 2012 to Spanish football players Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernández, the duo that was suggested for the prize by FIFA president Joseph Blatter. The two players, who are captains in their rival clubs Real Madrid and Barça, were part of Spain’s national team that won the European championship this summer. They were selected over the International Paralympic Committee, which ended up in second place.
El Confidencial reported last week that Casillas, goalkeeper in Madrid, and Xavi, midfielder in Barcelona, had been suggested by the FIFA president because, in his words, “they provide an example to follow and represent the unity of Spain, standing above the differences between Real Madrid and Barcelona. They are friends more than rivals and their friendship is more important than their rivalry.”
The decision was published by the Prince of Asturias Foundation on Wednesday and the prize will be handed out on October 25. The candidacy presented by Blatter stresses that Iker and Xavi have built and maintained a solid friendship since they won the World Cup for Under-20s with the Spanish national team in 1999 and they have “jointly shown a conciliatory attitude that has smoothed out traditional differences between players and supporters,” “they are an example of fair play” and they promote a team spirit as the base for success in sports.
Friendship stronger than rivalry
The aim of the Prince of Asturias awards is to promote “scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanistic values” on behalf of individuals, institutions or groups in the international field. The sports award is given to someone who, apart from the sports achievements, have contributed with “effort, extraordianary manners, perfection, encouragement, promotion and spread of the sport.”
In line with this, Blatter suggested the award be given to Iker and Xavi because of the exemplary manners that both have shown beyond the rivalry between their two clubs. This is the second Prince of Asturias award they receive, given that they both were part of the national team that was granted the award in 2010, after the Spanish victory in the World Cup in South Africa.
There was a total of 21 candidacies from 12 different countries. The winner receives an amount of €50,000, a diploma and a Joan Miró sculpture.
Casillas and Xavi are captains of their respective teams and they led the national team that won the World Championship in 2010 and the European Championship in 2008 and 2012.
This article was translated and edited by Stina Lunden.
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