Dream comes true for David Villa

Three years ago, David Villa's international career appeared to end when Spain, the defending champion, exited the 2014 World Cup in the first round and he moved to MLS.

Spain's all-time leading scorer with 59 goals was three caps shy of the century mark. Despite an MVP season with New York City FC in 2016, Villa wasn't recalled when Julen Lopetegui took over as national team coach, replacing Vicente del Bosqueafter Euro 2016.

But Villa didn't stop dreaming of returning to La Roja. He said he'd anxiously await the release of the team roster to see if his name was on it. He knew Lopetegui and the Spain coaching staff had seen him play with NYCFC this season so there was a glimmer of hope. Villa has scored 19 goals and is given an excellent shot at becoming the first player to win back-to-back MLS MVP honors.

Well, Villa's dream came true on Thursday night when Lopetegui called him and told him he'd been recalled for World Cup qualifiers against Italy -- next Saturday at Madrid Bernabeu Stadium -- and Liechtenstein. Villa's name was on the list of players released Friday -- alongside those of old buddies like Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets.

"We believe that calling up Villa is necessary and appropriate,” said Lopetegui after the team was announced. “He’ll give us extra mobility up front and above all he’ll contribute with his enthusiasm. He is very eager. We hope and believe he will help us.”

Villa, who replaced Diego Costa in the Spanish attack, said the call-up was a big moment for him but also for MLS, a credit to the progress of the league that he'd be rewarded with a recall.

"I never stopped thinking about it," he told reporters after NYCFC's 1-1 tie with the Red Bulls on Friday night. "I never thought about retiring, I always hoped for a call, but it did surprise me a lot. I know the manager had been coming to New York to see our games. I’m happy and grateful for the opportunity. I will try to do the best I can and not fail.”

9 comments about "Dream comes true for David Villa".
  1. Craig Cummings, August 26, 2017 at 9:21 p.m.

    This is great for MLS. MLS is finally getting some respect from overseas coaches.

  2. frank schoon replied, August 29, 2017 at 8:02 a.m.

    Craig, what it really says is that Spain is hurting for a striker . it is so bad they have to go the MLS,to find one. Remember Diego Costa, was a Brazilian, that Spain got to play for them in the last WC'14. Look at Barcelona...not one Spanish. striker, look at Real Madrid...zilch! Spain somehow has problems producing a good striker, Raul was the only one in the past 20 years.

  3. Chris St. Hilaire, August 29, 2017 at 2:50 a.m.

    Thank you, David. You bring respect to the league.

  4. frank schoon, August 29, 2017 at 9:11 a.m.

    Chris, Respect? A guy, whose had a good run decides to come over from Europe because no European team is interested in him due to his age. He decides to come over to the US, and play in the MLS to have some fun and pick up a few extra bucks while enjoying the night live of New York. He comes to a league as described by Pirlo that need to run less, and play more soccer, in other words play with more brains and use more skill.
    Now I ask you, how can a guy, who is going on 36 in a couple months, play in a league with there is a lot of 'muscle' and physical play employed, can't outrun anyone, or out head anyone, or outmuscle anyone, isn't known for having the hardest shot, but is the leading goal scorer currently with 19, and he keeps scoring , like it is nothing? This guy could still kick in a half a dozen playing in a wheelchair....what does that tell about this league. If you had watched Henri play, he could still play with 2 fingers up his nose with no problem.

  5. don Lamb replied, August 29, 2017 at 2:06 p.m.

    There was some doubt about Villa's ability to come back from his injury that he suffered at Barca, but he proved that he could and then some with a tremendously successful stint at Atleti. He could have gone to just about any club in the world -- maybe not as their number one striker, but he definitely could have gone where ever he wanted. He chose to be the first signing in the history of a new and potentially high profile club in MLS. He chose to create a real legacy tied to his name that will last forever. There is no talk of him being a night life kind of guy or lacking the work ethic that it took him to become such a successful player in the first place. You love quotes (without really understanding their context), and you put WAY too much stock into Pirlo's quote. His comment that MLS players are not as tactically advanced as those that he is used to playing with at Juventus or Milan or Italy is pretty understandable. That does not make MLS players thoughtless hack jobs. It is a physical league. Less so than the EPL, more so that La Liga. There is a lot more to it, however, and if you watch, you will notice that many of the teams play nice possession styles. Columbus, NYCFC, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, New England, for example, play possession styles. Then there are teams like Toronto, Portland, and Kansas City who are finding lots of success as teams that are comfortable whether they have the ball or not. Then there are teams like Montreal, Vancouver, and Houston who are built to counter attack. Then there are teams like New York Red Bulls who play an insane pressing game. Then there are teams who struggle a bit with their identity. Regardless, the league is diverse, and the fact that Villa is scoring goals points to the fact that he is a great player. Ibra is only one year younger and he scored bunches of goals for United last year. Does that make the EPL a horrible league?

  6. Fire Paul Gardner Now, August 29, 2017 at 10:40 a.m.

    Poor frankie. So intolerant of anything that conflicts with his set in stone worldview. Yes, frankie, the fact a guy in MLS was recalled by one of the best national teams on the planet is a positive for MLS. Just admit it instead of making excuses.

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, August 29, 2017 at 11:43 a.m.

    I am afraid I am of Frank's view. The credit goes to Villa. Respect for MLS has nothing to do with the selection, but fans might have more respect for MLS because their respect for Villa is raised. A similar concept, but not the same thing.

  8. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, August 29, 2017 at 3:01 p.m.

    Disagree. Even though this guy plays in MLS, that didn't stop him from getting called in to the Spain squad. That's certainly an improvement for MLS.

  9. Craig Cummings, August 29, 2017 at 10:29 p.m.

    Chris who is David?

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