NYON: Barcelona and Spain playmaker Xavi has donated to the International Committee of the Red his €100,000 prize from the European federation after being nominated as captain of the UEFA.com users’ Team of the Year 2011.

Swiss UEFA exco member Peter Gilliéron handed over the cheque to before the Champions League defeat of Bayer Leverkusen at Camp Nou.

The Red Cross has been a UEFA partner since 1997 and the money will support it rehabilitation programme for land-mine victims in Afghanistan – providing artificial limbs, physiotherapy and vocational training. The rehabilitation scheme has helped more than 95,000 mine victims and other disabled people since it was established in 1988.

Xavi said: “It’s an honour to be able to help. We footballers are privileged. We have it good, through living our passion. It’s a profession of course but it’s also a hobby and a passion. So to be able to help people who need it, is a beautiful cause.”

Pierre Kraehenbuehl, ICRC director of operations, said: “This is an important and much appreciated gesture. Every day these activities change people’s lives. Needs however remain very high across Afghanistan and this support will help us in increasing and improving
our physical rehabilitation activities.”

The UEFA.com users’ Team of the Year 2011 was: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid, Sp) – Dani Alves (Barcelona, Brz), Gerard Piqué (Barcelona, Sp), Thiago Silva (Milan, Brz), Marcelo (Real Madrid, Brz) – Arjen Robben (Bayern, Hol), Xavi Hernández (Barcelona, Sp), Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona, Sp), Gareth Bale (Tottenham, Wales) – Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Arg), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, Por). Coach: Josep Guardiola (Barcelona).