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Forgotten football stars: David Villa

David Villa is Spain's top goalscorer
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Here is another active football player you may well have forgotten all about, the former star of Barcelona and the Spanish national team – David Villa.

David Villa is one of the most talented strikers ever seen in Spanish football. He started his career at Sporting Gijon back in 2000 and moved to Zaragoza in the summer of 2003.

‘El Guaje’ announced himself on the big stage during his first season at La Romareda, helping Zaragoza to win the 2004 Copa del Rey. He scored 21 goals across all competitions, including one in the Cup final against Real Madrid’s Galacticos.


Villa moved to Valencia in 2005 and developed into a world-class striker during his stay at Mestalla. The Spaniard won the Spanish Player of the Year for the 2005-06 season, netting 25 league goals for the Bats.

He earned himself a place in Spain’s 23-man squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany and scored two goals on his World Cup debut against Ukraine.

In 2008 Villa won his second Copa del Rey trophy, as Valencia eliminated Atletico Madrid and Barcelona before thumping Getafe 3-1 in the final. At the end of the season, he was called up for the Spanish national team that traveled to the UEFA Euro 2008, hosted by Austria and Switzerland.

On his UEFA Euro debut, Villa bagged a hat-trick against Russia, securing a 4-1 victory for the Red Fury. The striker played a vital role for the team during the whole tournament, as Spain won their first international trophy in 44 years. David Villa won the UEFA Euro 2008 Golden Boot with his four goals in the competition.

Two years later, Villa won another international trophy with Spain – the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He was one of the best players in the tournament, netting five goals – joint best with Golden Boot winner Thomas Muller.


His big move finally came during the summer of 2010, as the 29-year old striker at the time moved to Barcelona in a €40 million transfer deal.

In his first year at Camp Nou, Villa scored 23 goals across all competitions. He won the La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble and netted one of the most beautiful goals in the European finals clinching a 3-1 victory over Manchester United at Wembley.

‘El Guaje’ won another La Liga title in 2013 and left Barcelona, joining Atletico Madrid for a cut-price deal of €5.1 million.

He stayed only one season at Vicente Calderon, but played a huge role in Atletico’s first La Liga triumph since 1996. The Colchoneros also reached the Champions League final, but Sergio Ramos scored in the dying moments of the game, denying them a historic double.

David Villa had a short spell at Melbourne City in 2014, before becoming the first player of newly formed MLS club New York City at the start of the next year.

He spent four years at the United States, netting 80 goals in 124 MLS games. On 1 December 2019, David Villa signed for the J1 League club Vissel Kobe. He joined his former Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta, who is currently playing his second season in Japan.

Villa has made 11 appearances in the J1 League this season, netting five goals for the Ushi. He is the Spain all-time top scorer with 59 goals in his international career.