"I wanted to leave football before the football leaves me," David Villa said, and that sounded almost as poetic as the game of his teams could be. Villa was the scorer of a Spain that conquered the world with a distinctive style. In the Japanese Kobe he has now declared that the few pending season games will be his last.
Villa, 37, is only a few months after his old strike partner Fernando Torres, many years after Xavi and Carles Puyol and not long before his current club colleague Andrés Iniesta will do so, while Iker Casillas has not quite given up hope for a comeback after his heart attack Has. Their names will never be forgotten, they were the key figures of the "Golden Generation", which led Spain to the first title in 44 years for the 2008 European Championship and 2010 for the World Cup. Top Scorer each: David Villa. The man who refined the Spanish Tiki-Taka.
He scored 59 goals in 98 games overall, Spain's record. The scoring of 0.6 is better than that of Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal or Lionel Messi for Argentina, but does not tell the whole story. To appreciate its importance, it must be remembered that the great Spain was a dominant but not overly dangerous team. At the 2010 World Cup she met only eight times throughout the tournament. Five goals, more than half, Villa shot.
Spain's perfect luck
Most of all, he came from the left wing and appeared punctually in the middle. As it should be in the passing game, also came his two-footed qualifications like "al primer toque", with the first touch of the ball. But that's not the only reason why he fits so well in this complex, midfield-dominated style of play. The teammates were always celebrating his invisible work: the appearances, the sense of a free space, and no matter how small, because he was almost always against deep-seated opponents. The small, slender mansion could at the same time be part of the dissolution of an assault, he had the understanding as well as the patience for the long passports, which sometimes confused his own strikers as much as the rivals.
Marcus Brandt / DPA
In 2010 played a significant role in Spain's World Cup triumph: David Villa
In Spain, an attacker like him is missing until today, when the national team has managed to qualify for the EM 2020 early, but looks back on three unsuccessful tournaments in series. So much so, that in 2017 after three years break he was even called back for a couple of games. But even if he met well until the last, time can not turn back and Spain will continue to debate in each international match week about his striker. Diego Costa, Álvaro Morata, Rodrigo, Paco Alcácer, the "False Nine" - nothing so far approaches the perfect luck with Villa.
Both feet thanks to broken leg
In their farewells his old companions called him "Guaje" again, the word was also on the tabs of his football boots. It called in the dialect of his northern Spanish home Asturias originally the helpers of the miners.
Villa became a star in Valencia
Villa comes from the mining town of Tuilla, his great-grandfather heard the nickname Trotsky, the grandmother's name was Libertad, freedom. The father also started underground. When little David broke his right leg with four, he said: Then you shoot with left! Since then he was bipedal, but the mine closed, the village shrank, and soon there was not even a regular bus to the neighboring regional capital Oviedo. Only with just under 18 took him then the local rivals Sporting Gijón under contract. "You can not do anything without fighting," he learned from his background.
That was also true for his selection career. Great was the shouting, as the guy without house power from the 2006 World Cup repressed Real Madrid legend Raúl. Since he had established himself after a station at Zaragoza just in Valencia. Comparatively late, at 28, he came as a replacement for the failed Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the big club FC Barcelona, where he scored twice in both the legendary 5: 0 against José Mourinhos Real and in the Champions League final won in 2011.
The development to the Globetrotter
He remained a laborer anyway, for Messi, who later allegedly crossed his fingers over him. Villa missed 2011/12 almost the entire season including the European Championship because of a shin fracture, and was never completely the same again. He retaliated by snatching Barça's title after joining Atlético Madrid in 2013.
From 2015 to 2019: David Villa scored 80 goals in 124 games for New York City FC
As a result, the shy, down-to-earth villa became a globetrotter: he already played in Melbourne and New York before Japan. There he now becomes a club co-owner. From 2021, the franchise Queensboro under construction in the second American league to play. Villa has already gained experience with football schools.
And while the question remains as to whether his career ends with the Cup semi-finals on 21 December or the final on 2 January, nobody here actually leaves anyone. "We hang up our shoes, but never the memories," Sergio Ramos wrote him farewell. The memories of Spain's best time.