Villa, the Spanish goal machine, stuck in the Europa League

September 6, 2009

It’s hard to believe Spain striker David Villa will not be playing in the Champions League again this season.

The Valencia frontman was in irresistible form against Belgium in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday when the European champions romped to a 5-0 victory in La Coruna.

Villa won and then missed a first-half penalty, before making amends by scoring two and setting up another two as Spain maintained their 100 percent record in qualifying to all but assure themselves of a place in South Africa next year.

Villa was already Spain’s second highest scorer of all time and now has 33 goals from 51 appearances –- just 11 short of Raul’s national record of 44.

What makes his tally even more impressive is that the former owner of Spain’s number seven shirt, Raul, bagged his total over 102 appearances.

Villa has time on his side, he turns 28 in December, and is on course to set a new Spanish benchmark at the World Cup finals.

But at club level, Villa will only be playing in the Europa League after Valencia finished sixth in La Liga last season.

It isn’t as though his talents have not been noticed by Europe’s leading clubs. He was tournament top scorer at Euro 2008, and has averaged almost 20 goals a season in La Liga with Real Zaragoza and then Valencia over the last six years.

Financially-troubled Valencia said they would consider offers that were “scandalously scandalous” over the summer as the big clubs circled.

But reports said Villa was keen to stay in Spain, which left big-spending Real Madrid and treble-winners Barcelona as his only possible destinations.

Real and Barca landed Cristiano Ronaldo (94 million euros) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (66 million euros) respectively, but neither were willing to stump up the money for one of the world’s most complete strikers, despite both clubs registering their interest.

For Real president Florentino Perez, who came closest to landing Villa but baulked at paying more than 40 million euros, the reasoning was thus:

“(Ronaldo and Kaka) are players that have won the Ballon d’Or and FIFA world player of the year awards, who I describe as ‘investment’ players because they have an international reach which others maybe haven’t reached,” he said in June.

Villa could be accused of a lack of ambition by wanting to stay in Spain, but Real or Barca may live to regret not signing him come next May.

PHOTO: Spain’s David Villa celebrates a goal against Belgium in Coruna, Sept.5 REUTERS/Juan Medina


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

[...] Source add it: Tags: benchmark, champions league, DAVID VILLA, euro 2008, Europe, european champions, florentino perez, frontman, Juan, kaka, la coruna, MADRID, making amends, number seven, raul, real zaragoza, ronaldo, South Africa, Spain, striker, strikers, top scorer, treble winners, world cup finals, world cup qualifier, Zaragoza, zlatan ibrahimovic [...]

Good post. I was very surprised that no one from the premier league came in for him, but I think that many managers believe that the Galacticos have inflated the transfer market this summer…could be on his way in january?

not to chelsea he wont

Posted by maid | Report as abusive

Quote: “Villa could be accused of a lack of ambition by wanting to stay in Spain…”What kind of statement is that? Almost all the world’s best players play in Spain: Messi, Ronaldo, Kaka, Xavi, Iniesta… I don’t see how playing in the same league as these players amounts to lack of ambition.

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

Vincent,Kaka and Ronaldo only arrived this summer and Villa’s reported preference for Spain pre-dates their arrival. Up until Real Madrid splashed the cash again the tendency had been for big names to gravitate towards England.Fernando Torres and Xabi Alonso left Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad respectively to progress their careers in England with a side that would regularly play in the CL.All I’m saying is that if you want to play at the highest level, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd were all supposedly keen on landing him but he ruled them out.

Posted by Mark Elkington | Report as abusive

Mark,I disagree with your claim that “up until Real Madrid splashed the cash again the tendency had been for big names to gravitate towards England.”That is not true. The big names in Spain always choose Real Madrid or Barcelona ahead of any foreign team. They choose to move abroad only when there are no offers from any of the big two (Torress is the exception because he could not have joined local rivals Real Madrid, but he would have chosen to remain in Spain had Barceolna made a move).The fact is that very few ESTABLISHED big name players ever move from Italy or Spain to England. Most of the big names in England are those who came as great potentials and developed into big names (Drogba, Essien, Ronaldo). Torres and Alonso fall into that category. England has no history of attracting players of the caliber of Kaka, Zidane, Messi, Etoo at their peaks. Put simply, the EPL is over-hyped.Quote: “All I’m saying is that if you want to play at the highest level, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd were all supposedly keen on landing him but he ruled them out.”Why would he move to any of those clubs when he had interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid?

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

The biggest reason that Villa never moved was that he said time and time again (and has done for 2 seasons) that he only wants to play in Spain. The constant media speculation by the British scum press, on slow news days was all absolute rubbish! It was quite funny to see him being linked constantly to Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd when it was quite clear he had no intention of moving to England. Real Madrid were only ever going to sign Ronaldo for big money so subsequently with all the other types of players they needed in holding Midfield and Defence they couldn’t afford Villa as well. they opted for Benzema in the end who was cheaper. Real also probably noticed that Villa does not play as well for Spain with Raul as he does with Torres, and they can’t risk upsettling their talisman. Barcelona will sign Villa next year if Valencia don’t make the CL because they will realise what a useless lazy t**t Ibrahimovic is!Adios!

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive