David Villa Sánchez (born 3 December 1981) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a striker and is the captain for New York City FC. He is nicknamed El Guaje (The Kid in Asturian) because as a youngster he frequently played football with children much older than him.
Villa was born in Tuilla, a small parish in Langreo, Asturias, a region in northern Spain, the son of José Manuel Villa, a miner. When Villa was four, his chances of becoming a footballer were put in jeopardy when he suffered a fracture to the femur in his right leg, but he made a complete recovery. Due to the injury, he and his father worked on strengthening his left leg and Villa ultimately became ambidextrous. He recalls his father being consistently supportive: “He would be there throwing me the ball over and over, making me kick it with my left leg when my right was in plaster after breaking it, I was four. I can barely remember a single training session when my dad wasn’t there. I have never been alone on a football pitch.”
Villa admitted that he came close to giving up football at the age of 14 after growing disillusioned and falling out with his coach. However, thanks to his parents’ encouragement, he persisted in pursuing his dream, realising his talent could earn him a living. “In those days I was a nobody, not earning a penny and after being made to sit on the bench all season I just wanted to get away and play with my friends” he said. “But my dad always supported me and cheered me up until my career turned round.” He went on to begin his footballing career at UP Langreo and when he turned 17 he joined the Mareo football school.
Despite his serious injury as a child, Villa started his professional career with Sporting de Gijón. He moved to Real Zaragoza after two seasons, where he made his La Liga debut, winning the Copa Del Rey and Supercopa de España. He joined Valencia CF in 2005 for a transfer fee of €12 million and was part of the Valencia team that won the Copa del Rey in the 2007–08 season. Villa hit his La Liga goalscoring peak while at Valencia, scoring 28 league goals in the 2008–09 season. In 2010, he moved to FC Barcelona for €40 million, where he won his first La Liga and UEFA Champions League titles. He was one of the goalscorers in the 2011 final of the Champions League as Barcelona defeated Manchester United, 3–1. After a €5.1 million transfer, he spent the 2013–14 season at Atlético Madrid, winning another La Liga title before leaving to play for New York City.
Villa made his international debut for Spain in 2005. He has since participated in four major tournaments, becoming an integral member of the Spain teams that won UEFA Euro 2008 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He scored three goals at the 2006 World Cup, was the top scorer at Euro 2008 and earned the Silver Boot at the 2010 World Cup. He is the first Spanish player to ever reach 50 international goals and retired from internationals after the 2014 World Cup with 59 in 97 matches, making him Spain’s all-time top goalscorer as well as the country’s top scorer in the World Cup, with nine goals.

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