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Alves named UEFA Cup's best

Sevilla FC's Daniel Alves has become the first recipient of the UEFA Cup Most Valuable Player award following his exploits with last season's tournament winners.

Sevilla FC's versatile Brazilian Daniel Alves has received a timely boost ahead of tonight's UEFA Super Cup against FC Barcelona after being voted the Most Valuable Player of the 2005/06 UEFA Cup as part of this season's first-round draw in Monaco.

Pivotal role
The combative right-sided defender, who can also operate in midfield, was a crucial component of the Sevilla side that overwhelmed Middlesbrough FC 4-0 in the final in Eindhoven to claim European silverware for the first time. Alves, who was booked seven times in his 13 UEFA Cup appearances, beat off competition from two of his team-mates from last season to lift the award, with Javier Saviola – who will be among Alves's opponents at the Stade Louis II this evening, having returned to Barcelona – and Enzo Maresca, together with Middlesbrough striker Mark Viduka, also nominated.

Rising star
Alves was selected as the first winner of this accolade by a panel comprising some of Europe's leading coaches – the eight men who guided teams to the UEFA Cup quarter-finals last term - and UEFA's technical study group. It marks the latest achievement in the career of the fast-rising 23-year-old who will hope to get his hands on another prize tonight.