NEW YORK — After a wild NY Derby matchup Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, David Villa said he’s not yet at 100 percent fitness.
Villa, who made his third appearance since missing seven games with a knee injury, was buzzing around the field. He sprinted to track down balls in the corner, he tracked back defensively, he was feisty and he was lethal when given an inch of space, as he proved by scoring the second-half equalizer.
He looked like a 20-year-old version of himself, not the 36-year-old who won’t be offered a new contract by NYCFC, according to a recent report by Spanish outlet AS that Villa dubbed “fake news.”
“It’s fake news. Every time I’m talking with the people of the club, people of the [City Football Group], the people in the team, they always show me that they want me here forever,” Villa said. “I can’t be here forever, as a player.
“It’s not the moment. I don’t care about the contract. It’s more about me. If tomorrow I sign the contract for five years with NYCFC and in December I’m not feeling good, I go out.”
Villa said he’s had no talks with NYCFC brass about the future because his focus is on what he hopes is an MLS Cup run this season.
“We’re not talking a lot because I don’t want to talk a lot. I want to be focused on the team, I want to be focused on the club and the things that are really important,” he said. “But every time I’m talking with the important people with the club that need to take this decision, they always show me, and tell me, that they want me here forever. So we’ll see. It’s not the moment to talk now.”
As for his health, Villa said his knee is “100 percent” but he’s working his way back to match fitness. The 87 minutes he played Wednesday were his most since returning to the field. The break until NYCFC play again — at Columbus Crew SC on Sept. 1 — will be more beneficial.
“I know my body very well and I need a little bit of time, I promise you,” Villa said. “I’m happy for the game I did. I want to be better, but I know I need a little bit of time. … The most important for me is my knee is 100 percent. But now I need to accommodate my body because I was out a lot of training sessions, a lot of games, a lot of weeks. But I’m in the process. I have 10 days now and I am happy with the way everyone played today.”