Friday, 1 April 2011

David Villa - Born to Score (Part 1)

This week, David Villa made history as he moved past Raul to become Spain’s leading International goal scorer of all time. Villa has scored an incredible 46 goals in just 73 International matches, averaging more than a goal every other game. After being the top goal scorer at Euro 2008 and the joint top at last summer’s World Cup, the 29 year old’s International goal scoring record is the current pinnacle of world football. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned his haul of over 250 club goals yet either.

David Villa is a wonderful footballer, he has pace, bundles of technical ability and is a deadly and amazingly consistent finisher. He is arguably the best striker in the world and has a club and international goalscoring record to back that up. The thing is, there are two certain individuals who seem determined to keep Villa confined to the shadows when it comes to goals, and they aren’t even supposed to be strikers. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have left the rest of Europe in their dust by delivering a scarcely believable glut of goals over the last couple of seasons, but David Villa still remains one of the planet’s top forwards.

Arguably, David Villa’s greatest asset is his consistency. In each of the past ten years, Villa has scored 20 or more goals a season. This amazing record spans right back to when Villa first broke into the Sporting Gijon first team at the age of 19. Playing for Gijon in the Segunda División, David Villa scored 40 goals in 85 games before in 2003, newly promoted Real Zaragoza signed the 21 year old for approximately €3m.

In his first season with his new club Villa also won the first silverware of his career, scoring a goal in the Copa del Rey Final in which Zaragoza beat David Beckham’s Real Madrid 3-2 after Extra time. Villa’s time at Zaragoza was a success; in two seasons he helped the newly promoted team to two mid table finishes in La Liga and also got to play in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup as a result of their domestic Cup success. While at Zaragoza, Villa also made his International debut for Spain in February 2005. On the back of this success Quique Sánchez Flores brought the striker to Valencia for €12m in the summer of 2005.

Villa played at Valencia for 5 seasons, making 212 appearances and scoring 129 goals. During this time Valencia achieved 2 third place finishes in the league and also won the 2007/08 Copa del Rey. Villa was Valencia’s top scorer five seasons in a row and made 64 appearances for the Spanish National side during this time, scoring 42 goals. His magnificent record for both Club and Country over half a decade finally paved the way for his richly deserved big-money transfer.

In May 2010, just before the World Cup in South Africa, Barcelona signed David Villa for a fee of around €40 million. After a failed experiment with striker Zlatan Ibrahimović, David Villa was seen by many to be a much safer option than the unpredictable Swede. Already playing alongside many of his future teammates for the Spanish National team, Villa has settled into a familiar system rather effortlessly. Despite some light criticism at the start of the season, Villa has already scored over 20 goals this season, the tenth season in a row that he has achieved this. He has scored important goals too, in particular his brace in the 5-0 Clasico win as well as an important away goal in the Champions League Round of 16 tie against Arsenal.

Despite his wonderful ability to get goals wherever and whenever he plays, surprisingly Villa has never won the Pichichi, and he is almost certain not to win it this season either. David Villa is currently the third top scorer in La Liga 10 behind Messi and Ronaldo, but with Barcelona still fighting for 3 competitions, his goals could yet have a huge impact on where the dust settles in Spain this season.

In part two, I take a more in depth look at Villa’s incredible record for his Country.

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