Heartbeat of Spanish team once again courting international suitors
When Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson looked to fill the continuing void left by the departure of his ageing captain Roy Keane, the Scot turned to England's Michael Carrick and hard-tackling Villarreal midfielder Marcos Senna. ( dpa )
While Ferguson succeeded in landing the Tottenham Hotspur player, the Brazilian-born Senna, who had shone for his newly-adopted country at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, eventually decided to remain at the club he joined in 2002 from Sao Caetano.
Now, two years on, Senna's tireless performances in front of the Spanish defence at Euro 2008 have not only helped Luis Aragones' side snuff out the attacking threats presented by the likes of Luca Toni and Andrei Arshavin, they have also once again turned the international spotlight on the 31-year-old.
Juventus and Arsenal have both been linked with the player in the past week but Senna is remaining focused on the job immediately at hand - playing his part in Spain's attempt to win a first European Championship title in 44 years.
After helping his Spanish team keep Italy and Russia scoreless in the quarter- and semi-finals, respectively, Senna is now relishing the task of preventing Germany playmaker Michael Ballack from having any influence in Sunday's final at the Ernst Happel stadium in Vienna.
"I feel ready to stop Ballack as well. He is a great player and deserves all the respect he gets but I hope we can cope with him too," said Senna.
"Both teams will play the way they know best. Spain will try and maintain possession while Germany will look to stop us and then catch us on the counter-attack."
Sunday's final promises to be a fascinating affair between two teams that have contrasting styles of play.
Germany have played to their traditional strengths, albeit inconsistently, while Spain have stormed to the final thanks to a high-tempo game that tires out their opponents.
The main pillar of the Spanish game is a mobile midfield that moves forward at speed but which also protects the central defensive pairing of Carlos Marchena and Carles Puyol when needed.
"We have a playing style with a lot of passing, with a quality that resembles that of Brazil," said Senna.
While Senna is also known for his great passing range and capacity to shoot from distance, he is more than happy to concentrate on his defensive duties at Euro if it means erasing the disappointment of crashing out of the 2006 World Cup at the round of 16 stage to France.
"I think the players are more experienced and united now," he said.
"We all know it is a wonderful opportunity to go down in history."