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Spain celebrates Torres' 100th and Villa's return

  • FIFA.com, Sunday, September 9, 2012 11:07 PM

Spain, the defending World Cup champion and winner of the last two European Championships, begins its qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup against Georgia on Tuesday. It prepared with a 5-0 friendly against Saudi Arabia on Friday that marked Fernando Torres' 100th cap and the return of fellow striker David Villa.

"This is a day that I am never going to forget; it's somethng to be really proud of," said the 28-year-old Torres, who has 31 goals for Spain, after joining fellow Spanish century men Iker Casillas, Andoni Zubizarreta, Raul Gonzalez, Xavi and Xabi Alonso. "It is a sign of all of the hard work that is being put in that so many of us are reaching the 100 club these days. It seems that there are several more who will soon reach the figure at a young age like Sergio Ramos [currently on 94 appearances] and Cesc Fabregas [71]."

The 30-year-old Villa replaced Torres in the 53rd minute for his first Spain appearance since suffering a broken leg playing for Barcelona at the FIFA World Club Cup last December. Nine minutes later he scored from the penalty spot, marking his 52nd national team goal.

"It's a special night being back here with the national team after ten months away," Villa said. "I feel it even more on a sentimental level after being apart from my international teammates for so long. I missed them a lot in training sessions as well as in games. I am getting better all the time physically and mentally and haven't felt any problems since the operation."

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