Australia are set to face David Villa at the World Cup when they meet Spain in the group stage, and the Spanish superstar will also play in Australia later this year with Melbourne City FC confirming he will join the club for a period of the Hyundai A-League 2014-15 season.
Villa, 32, who was unveiled by the Major League Soccer club as its inaugural player on Monday, will play, train and contribute to Melbourne City FC’s Hyundai A-League campaign between October and December 2014 prior to the commencement of the MLS season in the United States.
A prolific striker for club and country, Villa is Spain’s all-time top scorer and will play at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
He also lifted the La Liga title in Spain for his former club Atletico Madrid this year.
Regarded as one of the top players in world football, Villa has won three La Liga titles, a UEFA Champions League title and will represent Spain at his third World Cup this June.
Ferran Soriano, CEO of the City Football Group, said: “We are very proud to have David Villa as part of the City family and are thrilled to announce he will play for Melbourne City FC in the Hyundai A-League this season. The sports fans of Melbourne can look forward to seeing one of the best players in world football representing their city when David brings his rare talents to AAMI Park later this year.”
David Gallop, CEO of the FFA, said: “It is exciting news that David Villa will be playing in the Hyundai A-League 2014-15 season. The presence of some of the world’s finest footballers in our competition, including a player like David coming straight from the World Cup, is an attractive prospect for spectators that further enhances the value of our game.”
Villa, who will play against the Socceroos in Group B at the World Cup, said he was excited about the prospect of playing club football in Australia.
“It’s very good for me in every sense,” Villa said. “From a football point of view it’s the opportunity to play in a new league in a different country, and of course it will be ideal for me to get some competitive football in the period before the MLS season gets under way. I’m sure that playing for Melbourne City FC will be a marvellous experience.”
He added: “What I’ve always done throughout my career is do the best I possibly can. That is what I will do for Melbourne City FC in every game that I play for them. I’ll be giving everything for the team, just like I have with every club I’ve played for.”
Head Coach John van’t Schip said he was delighted Villa would be joining the Club for part of the 2014-15 campaign.
“David Villa is still at the peak of his game; he is playing his third World Cup in Brazil, has just won the Spanish league and is an instinctive and gifted striker who will contribute significantly to Melbourne City FC,” van’t Schip said.
“We are confident David will be an incredible asset to the playing group and his experiences in Europe and for his country will help our players not only on the pitch, but in training as well”, he added.
Membership for Melbourne City FC are on sale now. Call 1300 255 432 or visit membership.melbournecityfc.com.au to order online.
David Villa Career Highlights:
• David became the first player to score 50 goals for his national team Spain
• All-time leading goal scorer for the Spanish National Team
• Won the World Cup with Spain in 2010 scoring 5 goals and was top goal scorer with 4 goals as Spain won the European Championships in 2008
• He has been named in the Spain squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
• Won two La Liga titles with Barcelona in 2010/11 and 2012/13 and again with Atlético Madrid in 2013/14
• Won the UEFA Champions league with Barcelona in 2010/2011
Pronunciation: Dah-vid Vee-Ah
DOB: 3 December 1981 (32)
Place of Birth: Langreo, Spain
Previous Clubs: Atlético Madrid, FC Barcelona, Valencia, Real Zaragoza, Sporting Gijon