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NYCFC nabs David Villa as first player signing
by Ridge Mahoney, June 2nd, 2014 5:07PM

TAGS:  mls, spain


[MLS TRANSACTIONS] The inevitable breakup of La Liga champion and Champions League finalist Atletico Madrid began suddenly and surprisingly with a blockbuster move. Spanish international striker David Villa is not only the first major departure but he’s headed to Major League Soccer. An official announcement Monday confirmed that Villa, who has traveled with the Spanish national team to Washington to continue its World Cup preparations, has left Atletico for New York City FC on a free transfer.

Villa, 32, has signed a three-year contract at undisclosed terms to play for NYCFC, which will begin play next year in MLS as an expansion team. Villa is its first player signing and he certainly fits the bill of a big-name star that will generate buzz as well as produce on the field.

“David Villa is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished soccer players and best strikers in the world,” said head coach Jason Kreis in a press release announcing the deal. ‘I couldn't be happier that we have acquired such an amazing talent as our first-ever signing. David has checked every box for what we were looking for in our first signing and it is a great day to be a member of this growing family of a club.”

Villa's resume is a remarkable one. Spain’s all-time leading scorer and the first to reach 50 goals, he has won three Spanish League titles -- two with Barcelona, and the one Atletico clinched last month -- and scored five goals as Spain won the 2010 World Cup.

“Throughout my career, I've always tried to keep pushing myself to achieve new targets, and this represents another important goal for me,” said Villa in the statement. “I want to try and help MLS continue to grow through playing, working hard, scoring goals and at the same time try to make New York City FC become the best team in the league.”

Villa will join NYCFC in January for the start of MLS preseason training. During a conference call with reporters, team executives refuted reports that he will play on loan after the World Cup with Manchester City, whose ownership group purchased the New York City expansion rights from MLS a year ago. There will be a loan deal in place but no specifics have been released.

  1. Ann Carter
    commented on: June 2, 2014 at 10:40 p.m.
    Too excited. Saw him play at Cowboy Stadium with Barcelona 2 summers ago. Loved it! Also, it's nice that we have some big name players coming to MLS and not looking at it as the nursing home of the soccer world. Slowly but surely we are getting respect. Hopefully we won't embarrass ourselves in Brazil.
  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: June 2, 2014 at 11:28 p.m.
    Not only the world cup and La Liga. He also won a champions league and a club world cup with Barcelona and Euro 2008 with Spain. In addition to 3 Copa del Rey with 3 different clubs.
  1. Zoe Willet
    commented on: June 3, 2014 at 12:29 a.m.
    What a coup! He is one of the players in the 2010 World Cup who impressed me the most. Now we just need to end this silly division into Western and Eastern divisions and the play-offs.
  1. David V
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 9:33 p.m.
    according to the IFFHS... he was the world's most prolific goal scorer from 2005-2009, possibly in 2010 as well due to his top scorer (goals alone) status in the 2010 WC. "Statistics (based on goal importance and the tournament they were scored in) demonstrate Villa to be the most prolific goalscorer in the world between 2005–2009" Probably one of the world's must under-appreciated players and a very humble man. Four Four Two ran a story in 2009 on him entitled "Europe's Most Wanted" He did not go to Real Madrid in the 2008-2009 time frame because Raul did not want him there (Raul was still playing for Real Madrid at that time, and Villa had displaced him from the Spain National team due to Villa's superior effectiveness and strike rate, and other reasons... Spain has had a golden generation from Fall 2006 to 2013 or 2014, and no doubt could not have won all they have without Xavi, Iniesta, Casillas, Puyol, Ramos, Silva, and the rest... but if there had not been a David Villa, Spain probably would not have won Euro 2008, the 2010WC, and the Euro each of these tournament's qualifiers, Villa led the Spain team in goals (by a huge ratio compared to his teammates)... and of course he led the team in goals in these major tournaments

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