The undeniable star of UEFA Futsal EURO 2016 actually departed the tournament midway through, 2007 Golden Player Ricardinho, but Spain dismissed Portugal 6-2 in the quarter-finals en route to victory and had quality throughout their squad.
Among those was Miguel Sayago, better known as Miguelín. His Spain breakthrough did not come until his late 20s when he was a last-minute call-up to replace the injured Fernandao for UEFA Futsal EURO 2012. He promptly scored in his first two finals appearances as his nation clinched a fourth straight title.
From then on Miguelín was a fixture in the squad, aiding Spain to the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup final and being picked out as one of the stars of UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 despite his team's semi-final exit. However, he stepped things up a gear in Belgrade two years later.
Not only was Fernandao ruled out for Spain through injury, so were Sergio Lozano, Adri and Aicardo – a huge blow to their attack. Even so, they won the tournament in greater style than ever before, starting with a 5-2 defeat of Hungary in which Miguelín netted twice, one a brilliant long-range drive.
As the finals went on, the white-haired 30-year-old, who had suffered so many injury problems since the 2014 event in Antwerp, led his side whenever he was on the pitch, contributing goals and assists aplenty. That included two strikes in the 7-3 final victory over Russia, one from distance, to earn a share of the Golden Shoe with Mario Rivillos.
That pair were joined on six goals by Miguelín's Murcia FS club-mate Alex and any of those three had a claim to having been Spain's star, among others. Rivillos and Alex were making their finals debuts and ought to be part of several Spain triumphs to come; Miguelín not only gave full rein to his talents in Belgrade but also used his experience to offer leadership to a team that, no matter how depleted in attack, reached new heights.
Miguelín's reputation in Spain had long been assured by his displays for Murcia; now he had proved himself internationally. "We worked so hard to achieve this and that's why it feels so great to finally win it," he told UEFA.com. "At the start of the tournament nobody was taking about us and when they did it was just to mention all the injured players. We kept focused and worked very hard towards the objective we had defined. We kept improving and that was a key factor in our success."
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