Three Spanish titles, three Copas del Rey, one UEFA Champions League, one European Championship and one FIFA World Cup: David Villa’s trophy cabinet is prestigious and well-stocked. His career total of 365 goals is impressive as well. After winning everything in Spain with Valencia, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid, El Guaje was the first player to sign with New York City FC back in 2014. 22 goals later, he continues to terrorize defences across North America with his ability to create magic from nothing. Laurent Ciman and the Montreal Impact (4-3-0, 12 pts) will need to keep an eye (or four) on him at all times when they face NYCFC at Yankee Stadium (1-3-3, 6 pts) this Wednesday at 7pm EDT (RDS, TSN Radio 690). Here are seven of his best and most important goals.
Valencia v Deportivo La Coruña
February 4, 2006
Result: Valencia 1-0 Deportivo La Coruña
Villa’s first season in Valencia went fairly well: the striker scored 28 goals in 47 games, helping his club to a third-place finish, just one point behind Real Madrid. Of his 28 goals, Los Che remember vividly this one which not only gave them the three points, but also was on highlight reels across the globe. After taking possession of the ball on the halfway line, Villa turns and chips the keeper from 50 metres. Easier said than done.
Spain v Italy
March 26, 2008
Result: Spain 1-0 Italy
Spain’s domination in international competitions started in Euro 2008, sending home the Italians in the quarterfinal. The two football superpowers clashed in March, in preparation to the tournament. The friendly finished 1-0 for La Roja, thanks to Villa’s sublime volley with the outside of his left boot. Perfection.
Barcelona v Manchester United
UEFA Champions League final
May 28, 2011
Result: Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United
Barça already has won La Liga. This ultimate game of the season is a highly prestigious one: a Champions League final against Manchester United at Wembley, the English national team home stadium in London. With the Blaugrana ahead 2-1 after Pedro and Messi found the net and Wayne Rooney provided a reply for the Red Devils, Messi attacks on the right wing with one of his celestial dribbles. The Mancunian defence stops him, but Sergio Busquets recovers and gives the ball to Villa. The Spanish striker doesn’t think twice: he puts his foot on the ball and launches a finesse shot that squeaks between Edwin Van Der Sar and his left post. 3-1 to Barça and the European Cup is back in Catalan hands for the third time in 6 years.
Barcelona v Real Madrid
Spanish Supercup first leg
August 14, 2011
Result: Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid
As the curtain rises over the 2011-2012 season, David Villa’s second with Barcelona, he treats the Santiago Bernabeu with a superb goal – one that will give the Madridistas nightmares. After controlling Messi’s pass on the left flank, he creates a yard of space for himself over Sergio Ramos and unleashes a shot in the opposite top corner. Casillas doesn’t stand a chance.
Barcelona v AC Milan
UEFA Champions League group stage
September 13, 2011
Result: Barcelona 2-2 AC Milan
With the game tied at 1-1 in the 2011 Champions League opener, Barcelona benefits from a well-placed free kick, about 30 metres from the Milanese goal. David Villa is chosen to take his opportunity, and he seizes it with style: his powerful shot goes up and down over the wall, gets away from keeper Abbiati and ends its flight in the top corner. Even Xavi and Iniesta are impressed.
Atlético Madrid v Barcelona
Spanish Supercup first leg
August 21, 2013
Result: Atlético Madrid 1-1 Barcelona
Having just moved to the capital after three successful years in Catalonia, Villa scores in his very first game wearing the Colchoneros’ uniform, and against his former club at that. The striker gets dynamically involved in the build-up, combining with Arda Turan (now at Barcelona) on the left wing, before sprinting full-speed toward the box. Turan whips in a precise cross at Villa’s feet. The volley, powerful and spectacular, spins away from Victor Valdés who can only deflect it in his goal. Villa’s only season in Madrid brought him a third La Liga title, as well as a Champions League final lost against archrival Real Madrid, still the only final played by clubs from the same city.
New York City FC v Orlando City FC
MLS Regular Season
July 26, 2015
Result: NYCFC 5-3 Orlando City FC
When David Villa has the chance to touch the ball around the opposition’s box, danger looms. Orlando City’s defence has learnt this lesson the hard way last summer. New York City’s #7 skillfully controls a long ball and immediately shoots a low effort that surprises a wrong-footed Hall in goal.