David Villa isn’t just the greatest superstar signing in MLS history, he also knows when to make a superstar headline grab. Not to let Jack Harrison have all the fun with his league Player of the Week honor, el Guaje busted things wide open in announcing that he’s signed a one-year extension with New York City FC.
The new terms will keep the captain in the South Bronx through the end of 2018.
Today’s news doesn’t come as a shock. We’ve heard rumblings about either a new contract or an extension of Villa’s current deal since last fall. As player himself even volunteered to Sports Illustrated’s Planet Fútbol Podcast in October:
“I am comfortable here. The club, I think, is comfortable with me. If I am good, I’ll keep playing here. Why not? We’re talking about [an extension] with the club.”
The narrative resurfaced at NYCFC Media Day in March, when gaffer Patrick Vieira claimed “it’s just a matter of time” before a deal would fall into place to keep Villa around for another year.
That time, it turns out, is today.
With 46 goals in 70 appearances under his belt and the 2016 MLS MVP trophy up on his presumably glorious mantelpiece, you can’t put a price on what New York City’s first-ever signing has been worth to this club and its fans.
It’s nigh-impossible to fathom any other soccering humanoid producing as profound an impact on and off the field for an expansion side with such titanic dreams, or scoring so many goals, or learning English so damn fast. (Seriously, Villa learned English faster than most of us can bake a potato.)
Today’s announcement makes it all the more likely that Villa will continue blazing his trail in the Five Boroughs after fellow designated player Andrea Pirlo has departed; the Italian legend’s contract expires at the end of this year, and his benching Saturday for tactical reasons speaks volumes about the direction NYCFC is headed.
But for now, it’s enough simply to regale in the sublime theatrics and feats of undying toughness that David Villa has managed to conjure in his days wearing the famous Etihad shirt.
In fact, enjoy the hell out of all that as much as you possibly can— the Spanish star man may bail on soccer and take up baseball as soon as 2019.