Monday, New York City FC announced it signed its first player, Spanish superstar and World Cup winner David Villa, on a free transfer. Villa, 32, who last month helped his former club Atletico Madrid to the La Liga title in Spain and this month is headed to Brazil for his third World Cup, joins the MLS expansion team on a three-season commitment.
New York City Football Club was launched in partnership by Manchester City Football Club and the New York Yankees and will begin play in 2015. NYC FC will call Yankee Stadium home and will be coached by former Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis, who developed that team's creative and successful style of play.
“David Villa is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished soccer players and best strikers in the world,” said Kreis. "I couldn't be happier that we have acquired such an amazing talent as our first-ever signing. David will be a shining example of what it will mean to be a New York City player and a leader for us on and off the field. He is hard working, he is a natural competitor, he is a winner at heart, and he is a terrific man."
As one of the world’s best strikers and a hero in Spain, Villa has played with Atlético Madrid, FC Barcelona, Valencia, Real Zaragoza, and Sporting Gijon. The World Cup striker will wear the No.7 shirt as he has done throughout his career, including his time at Barcelona between 2010 and 2013.
David Villa career highlights:
- Became the first player to score 50 goals for his national team Spain
- All-time leading goal scorer for the Spanish National Team
- Won the World Cup with Spain in 2010 scoring 5 goals
- Top goal scorer with 4 goals as Spain won the European Championships in 2008
- Named to the Spain squad for 2014 World Cup in Brazil
- Won two La Liga titles with Barcelona in 2010/11 and 2012/13 and again with Atlético Madrid in 2013/14
- Won the UEFA Champions league with Barcelona in 2010/2011
“I hope a lot of people turn out to watch us," said Villa of playing at Yankee Stadium. "It would be nice to create expectation for the fans before the season starts by playing well and getting good results so that New Yorkers can watch their soccer there, identify with their team and become New York City fans.”