When David Villa officially joined Major League Soccer in 2015 as the first-ever signing for New York City FC, he brought with him an international footballing resume unrivaled by his new colleagues in the United States.
The only other player in MLS at the time to have both a FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League title under his belt was the Brazilian international Kaká, who joined Orlando SC at the same time Villa joined NYCFC. While the number of World Cup and Champions League winners has since doubled from two to four with the arrivals of Andrea Pirlo and Bastian Schweinsteiger, Villa will always be the first of his kind in the MLS history books— and after signing a one-year extension to keep him in New York through the end of 2018, it’s clear that el Guaje intends to keep making history.
Villa’s eleven seasons in Spain’s top flight and nine years in European competitions has granted the superstar striker with an advantage over his less-experienced, less-decorated peers in America. Remember, Villa wasn’t just a member of successful clubs in Europe; just as he is now in MLS, he was almost always the top goal scoring threat whenever he stepped on the pitch, both with Spain’s national team, in which he holds the record for most goals with 59, and with top Spanish clubs like Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, where he is twelfth all-time with 185 La Liga goals.
Villa climbed the ladder to become one of the world’s most successful players and most prolific goal scorers because of his masterful ability to know where the net is at all times, something he continues to showcase today even in his age 35 season. There’s a reason he’s scored the most goals in MLS since joining the league (49) and is the reigning league MVP and a two-time All-Star in his first two years stateside.
El Guaje’s footballing resume finds itself constantly updated, and that won’t change anytime soon. And how could we expect anything different? The man’s got the perfect combination of winning and scoring in his veins.
Today, he continues his career in pursuit of becoming a champion once again, but this time under the biggest and brightest lights that American soccer has to offer.
One can only sit and wonder at the legacy he’d leave behind if he can bring an MLS Cup home to the Five Boroughs.