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Getting To Know: David Villa

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Full name: David Villa Sánchez
Squad No: 7
Position: Striker
Date of birth: 3 December 1981
Place of birth: Tuilla, Spain
Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight: 69 kg (152 lbs)

Villa was born in small village in Asurias, a region in northern Spain. He encountered several roadblocks on his way to professional football. He suffered a broken leg at the age of four and despite having a cast on his right leg, his father encouraged him to continue practicing and strengthening his left leg. That led him to become an ambidextrous footballer. His next obstacle came when he was 14, when he fell out of favor with his youth coach and was made to sit on the bench for most of the time. It was a tough time for him and he was even contemplating giving up football but his parents didn't let him. He continued his career at UP Langreo and at the age of 17 he joined the Mareo academy.

After he graduated he became a hot commodity and many Asturian clubs were interested in his services but the top flight teams passed on him claiming he was to short. So Villa joined Sporting de Gijón, then a Segunda División club. There he quickly progressed through their youth ranks and earned his debut during the 2000-01 season. The following season he joined the first team and was a starter for two season during which he amassed 85 appearances and 40 goals.

In the 2003-04 season he signed with Primera División side Real Zaragoza for approximately €3 million. He was immediately inserted into the starting lineup and he soon proved that he is a prolific goalscorer. In 92 games for the Aregonese side he scored 41 times and finished in seventh place in the Pichichi Trophy race two years in a row. With his talents on display against the top Spanish teams he quickly attracted interests of many clubs and it was Valencia who lured him away for a transfer fee of €12 million.

In his first game in a Los Che jersey he scored, it was a match against K.A.A. Gent in the Intertoto Cup on 23 July 2005. His La Liga debut with Valencia came on 27 August 2005 in a win against Real Betis. After he entered the first two league games as a substitute he became a regular starter and it remained that way throughout his five year stay with Valencia. In his first season with the club he recorded one of the quickest hat-tricks ever; he needed only five minutes for it. He became known as one of the best Spanish strikers and has been praised for his abilities on numerous occasions. Overall he has played in 212 games for Valencia, scored 129 goals and added another 53 assists. He is fifth on the club's goalscoring record list.

After a long pursuit by Barcelona El Guaje finally joined the team in the 2010-11 season for €40 million. He made his debut in the second leg of the Supercopa de España as a substitute. His first League appearance came against Racing Santander on 29 August 2010, he also scored his first goal as a Blaugrana member in that game. In the middle of his first season with the club he has shown tremendous adaptability and ability to find the net. In 27 games he has scored 17 times and assisted on 7.

Villa wasn't regularly featured in Spain's Under age teams but that didn't stop Luis Aragonés to give him the opportunity to make a mark in international football as a member of the senior team. On 9 February 2005 he was in the team that beat San Marino. His first goal for Spain came in November against Slovakia. Since then David has been on a phenomenal scoring run, his goals total now stands at 44 (in 70 games) which is tied for the most in Spain's history, but he achieved that number while playing in 32 games less than Raul, the co-owner of the record. Villa's goals per game number is the highest since the legendary Alfredo di Stéfano played for Spain in the 50s.

Profile
Villa is a natural striker but he is also comfortable when attacking from the wing and he can score from both position. He is a fast, mobile player and an excellent passer and he has numerous assists to prove it. Basically the only knock against him is his height and therefore strength in the air game. While is an excellent header of the ball he struggles to compete in tight spaces against 20cm higher central defenders.

Honors
Real Zaragoza

  • Copa del Rey (1): 2003-04

  • Supercopa de España (1): 2004

Valencia CF

  • Copa del Rey (1): 2007-08

FC Barcelona

  • Supercopa de España (1): 2010

Spain

  • UEFA European Championship (1): 2008

  • FIFA World Cup (1): 2010

Individual

  • Zarra Trophy (4): 2005-06, 2006-07, 2008-09, 2009-10

  • Don Balón Award (1): 2005-06

  • La Liga Top Assisting Player (1): 2006-07

  • UEFA Euro 2008 Team of the Tournament

  • UEFA Euro 2008 Golden Boot

  • 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup Bronze Shoe

  • 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup Team of the Tournament

  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team (1): 2010

  • 2010 FIFA World Cup Silver Shoe

  • 2010 FIFA World Cup Bronze Ball

  • UEFA Team of the Year (1): 2010

  • FIFPro World XI (1): 2010

  • Male Athlete of the Year (1): 2010

On the day of his transfer, David Villa signed a a four year contract with a club option for the fifth season, meaning he will remain with the club at least until the end of the 2013-14 season.

Join me next week when I get to know Andrés Iniesta.

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