Sunday, May 9, 2021

In Group D, anything can happen, says David Villa


tiamin rice

David Villa of New York City takes a pass in front of Walker Zimmerman of Los Angeles FC at Banc of California Stadium during a recent MLS game.

David Villa has fond memories of the World Cup.

A serial champion, Villa was in the Spanish team that won the title for the first time in its history at the South Africa 2010 edition of the competition.

The talented team, which also had among others, Andre Iniesta, Xavi, Xavi Alonso, Carles Puyol, Capdevila and the magnificent Iker Casillas as captain, also took two European championships between 2008 and 2012. It is now reckoned as one of the best teams in World Cup history.

Having played in three continents, Europe, Oceania (Australia) and the U.S., Villa, now retired from international football, is working as one of the spokespersons for Multichoice’s History of Football, a pop-up channel aimed at wetting the football lovers’ appetite two weeks before the kick off of the World Cup.

The History of Football is a documentary on the World Cup produced by A+E Networks, which is airing in Africa as a dedicated pop-up channel on DStv channel 187. It ends tomorrow.

And Villa, who is one of the leading lights in the Major League Soccer, has taken to the job with gusto. As in everything he has been associated with, Villa is determined to ensure that his audience enjoys the History of Football, which has been chronicling the evolution of the game from the 1930s to now.

He sees his involvement in the programme as an opportunity to serve football in another category.

“As a passionate football player, I have been lucky enough to see first-hand how much football means to so many people and how it affects people’s lives.

“I am thrilled and honoured to work with History on this fantastic television event, because it gives my fellow players, coaches, and myself, an opportunity to talk about what the game means to us and to re-live so many incredible memories.”

With his work done at History of Football, Villa is looking forward to another fantastic chapter in the World Cup book at 2018 edition, which begins on Thursday, next week.

The former Valencia and Barcelona striker still has fond memories of the competition and understandably rates the 2010 edition as the best he has been associated with.

He says, “The 2010 World Cup was the best edition because we won it. It was a dream come true.

“When you are a kid you always dream of playing for your country… winning the World Cup was the best moment of my football career.”

Villa says the Russian edition of the World Cup provides an opportunity for many great teams to add the trophy to their honours cabinet because “there are many great teams participating.

“But obviously I want Spain to win. Germany, Brazil and France are also favourites to win it.”

On Nigeria, Villa acknowledges that the Super Eagles are in a tough group, adding, however, that in football anything can happen.

“In theory, Argentina are the favourites but anything can happen in football. Nigeria has always had a strong team and I believe they have a chance to make it to the next round.

“Spain will bring a very solid group of players and I believe they can win it. The World Cup qualification was brilliant and the team is motivated to do big things in Russia.”

Away from the World Cup, Villa, who has played in the different cultures of Spain, Australia and the U.S., says football all over the world is the same thing, adding that the only difference is the aplplication.

“At the end of the day you have to put the ball in the net. I enjoyed my time in Spain, Australia and now in the United States.

“The MLS is a league that is going to be one of the best leagues in the world soon. I am very happy to have played in these three amazing countries.”

Villa will be divided between followiong the World Cup and playing in the league as the MLS will not be on break during the World Cup.

The New York City FC captain will also be working for Telemundo to boost the network’s coverage of this year’s tournament.

Villa and his production company, Designated Player, will create content for the NBC-owned Spanish-language broadcaster.

Villa will produce the video series Como Llegaron, which follows experiences of the Spanish and Portuguese national teams, plus those of eight other Latin American countries. He will also conduct player interviews, including some with former teammates of his such as Andres Iniesta.

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