David Villa, who helped Spain capture the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Atletico Madrid win this year’s La Liga crown, has signed a three-year deal with Major League Soccer’s New York expansion team.
New York City FC announced the signing on Monday, giving the new club its first-ever player and star power for its debut next year.
Villa will keep the No. 7 jersey he has worn for most of his career, including during his stint at Barcelona where he won La Liga in 2011 and last year, as well as a 2011 Champions League title.
“I’m keen to do the best I can, take on board that extra responsibility and prove my worth by repaying the confidence they have shown in me,” Villa said.
The New York team is owned by Premier League side Manchester City and Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees. The new franchise will call Yankee Stadium home until their own stadium is built.
“This is a historic and exciting moment,” New York City chief executive Ferran Soriano said. “He is one of the best footballers in the world, a true winner and in an outstanding moment of his career. I’m sure New Yorkers will enjoy watching him play for their city.”
Villa is Spain’s all-time top scorer, having netted four goals in La Roja’s 2008 European title campaign and five in their run to the World Cup crown in 2010. On June 13, he will contest his third World Cup when Spain launch their title defense in Brazil against the Netherlands.
His career has also included stints at Liga sides Valencia, Real Zaragoza and Sporting de Gijon.
Villa’s move sees him follow in the footsteps of stars such as Pele and David Beckham in trying to promote soccer in the US.
“Throughout my career, I’ve always tried to keep pushing myself to achieve new targets and this represents another important goal for me,” Villa said. “I want to try and help MLS continue to grow through playing, working hard, scoring goals and at the same time try to make New York City FC become the best team in the league. It’s a real honor that the people who have formed the club have focused their attention on me.”
New York City coach Jason Kreis was overjoyed at landing Villa.
“David Villa is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished players and best strikers in the world,” Kreis said. “I couldn’t be happier that we have acquired such an amazing talent.”
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