At the start of a week in which he will be part of the Europe coaching staff at the UEFA-CAF Meridian Cup, Ginés Meléndez has been recognised for his achievement in guiding Spain to victory in last summer's UEFA European Under-19 Championship with the illustrious Asociación Española de la Prensa Deportiva award.
Meléndez was in charge as Spain picked up their third European U19 crown in five years last July, defeating Scotland in the final in Poznan, and retains strong affection for his charges. "Players in the U19 and U20 national teams suffer a setback in their careers at the top level because clubs count on other players," said the coach, who was accompanied by three of his squad from last summer - Marc Valiente, Toni Calvo and José Ángel Crespo. "But Spain has the youngest senior national team and things are moving forward. I'm sure my players will move up and we will soon see them playing at the very top." Meléndez will work alongside Spain U21 coach Iñaki Sáez and Juan Santisteban, who is at the helm of the U17s, during this week's two-legged Meridian Cup contest against an Africa squad in Barcelona.
The 27th edition of the Spanish sporting press awards, which took place at the Palacio de Congresos in Castellon, honoured the country's top achievers in 2006. Among those collecting gongs were Spain's national basketball team, Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso, tennis star Rafael Nadal, and FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC, who won the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup respectively last year.
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