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Submitted by on Aug 8, 2021

David Villa Sánchez (born 3 December 1981) is a former striker for the Spanish national team. According to commentators, Villa is widely considered one of the finest strikers of his generation and one of the best Spanish strikers of all time. He is now the head of Global Football Operations and a technical adviser for Odisha FC in the Indian Super League.

Villa earned the nickname El Guaje (The Kid in Asturian) due to his propensity for playing football with youngsters much older than himself. As a kid, Villa had a terrible injury but went on to play professionally for Sporting de Gijón in 2001. After two seasons at Real Zaragoza, where he made his La Liga debut and won the Copa del Rey and Supercopa de Espana, he transferred to Real Madrid. In 2005, he moved to Valencia for a price of €12 million and won his second Copa del Rey championship.

At the age of 28, Villa scored 28 league goals, earning him a €40 million transfer to Barcelona in 2010, where he won his first La Liga and UEFA Champions League championships and scoring in 2011 final. He departed the club in 2013 after joining Atlético Madrid for €5.1 million, where he won another La Liga title.

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He departed the club in 2013 after joining Atlético Madrid for €5.1 million, where he won another La Liga title. After a single season, Villa left the Spanish capital to join New York City FC, where he became the club’s all-time leading goalscorer and appearance maker, receiving the MLS MVP Award for best player in 2016. Villa revealed in 2018 that he was leaving New York to join Vissel Kobe in Japan.

In 2005, Villa made his international debut for Spain. He played in four international tournaments and was a key component of the Spain squads that won the UEFA Euro 2008 and the World Cup in 2010. At the 2006 World Cup, he scored three goals, was the top scorer at Euro 2008, and won the Silver Boot at the 2010 World Cup.

In 2010, he was nominated to the FIFA FIFPro World11 for his performances for Spain and Valencia. After a brief return in 2017, he retired from the national team with 59 goals in 98 games, making him Spain’s all-time leading goalscorer and the country’s best scorer in the World Cup, with nine goals.

Villa was the son of José Manuel Villa, a miner, and was born in Tuilla, a tiny hamlet in Langreo, Asturias, northern Spain. Villa’s hopes of becoming a player were jeopardized when he had a femur fracture in his right leg when he was four years old, but he recovered completely. Villa and his father focused on strengthening his left leg due to the accident, and he eventually became ambidextrous.

He remembers his father’s unwavering support: “He’d toss the ball to me over and again, forcing me to kick it with my left leg since my right was in plaster after fracturing it when I was four. I can’t recall a single training session when my father wasn’t present. On a football field, I’ve never been alone.

Villa said that he was on the verge of quitting football when he was 14 years old, after becoming disillusioned and falling out with his coach. He continued following his ambition, though, thanks to his parents’ backing, realizing that his gift might earn him a living.

“I was a nobody back then, not earning a dime, and after being forced to sit on the bench for the whole season, all I wanted to do was run away and play with my pals,” he added. “However, my father constantly encouraged and supported me until my career took a turn for the better.” He began his football career at UP Langreo and joined the Mareo football school when he was 17.

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