David Villa is the best striker at Euro 2008
When the Spain squad for Euro 2008 was announced all the talk in the Madrid media was about the absence of “El siete de España” — Raul. Luis Aragones, they said, would regret leaving out the former national team captain and all-time top scorer.
But David Villa has made light of the supposed burden of inheriting the number seven shirt and laid the debate to rest in the space of four days with his hat-trick against Russia and superb stoppage time winner against Sweden.
The chants from Spain fans calling for the return of Raul have faded away and been replaced by a chorus of “Villa maravilla“.
Born in the Asturian town of Tuilla, “El Guaje” (“the kid” in the Asturian language Bable) is the son of coal miner, but instead of following the family tradition and heading down the pits he decided to try his luck at football.
Spain must be thanking their lucky stars that he made that career choice for Villa has become a synonym for goalscoring since breaking into the Spanish national side.
His winner against Sweden brought his tally to 18 in just 33 games, a far better strike rate than either Fernando Torres or Raul who scored 44 in 102 appearances for the national side.
Speedy, streetwise, skilful and razor sharp, Villa has all the characteristics of a great striker. Although he faces some stiff competition from Torres, Lukas Podolski, Luca Toni, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, for me Villa is and will be the best striker here at Euro 2008.
Real Madrid are apparently intent on signing Cristiano Ronaldo to spice up their attack, but if I were the Spanish giants I would be looking a bit nearer home and preparing a bid for a product from Asturias. On the other hand if United are forced to sell Ronaldo I’m sure the disappointment of their fans would quickly evaporate if they bought Villa with the profits.
PHOTO: Spain’s David Villa scores against Sweden in their Group D Euro 2008 match in Innsbruck, June 14, 2008. REUTERS/Miro Kuzmanovic