New York City FC forward David Villa hasn’t played international soccer since the 2014 World Cup, but Spain’s all-time leading scorer is apparently eyeing a return to La Roja.
Villa, who is tied for the MLS lead with 21 goals this season, was asked this week by Spanish radio station Cadena SER if new Spain manager Julen Lopetegui has called him since taking over the squad following Vicente del Bosque’s retirement after Euro 2016.
The 34-year-old didn’t say whether or not he’d spoken to Lopetegui, but made it plenty clear that he’d welcome a Spain call-up.
“I’d take the first flight,” he said. “I’ve always said it, I’m open. To me, it’s always been a dream to play for the national team. If the coach thinks I’m apt to help the team in any way possible, and calls me up, I’ll be there the next day.”
Villa has 59 goals in 97 career caps with Spain’s senior team. A three-time World Cup veteran, Villa made his international debut in 2005 and helped Spain to the Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup titles.
Villa told media before the 2014 World Cup that he’d retire after the tournament, which saw Spain disappointingly fail to advance from the group stage.
He denied any notion that he’s done with his international career in his recent interview, though he did acknowledge that he’d face a tough battle beating out Spain’s current crop of talented strikers.
“It doesn’t feel right to withdraw from something that has made me so happy and that still makes me happy from the outside,” he said. “I know it’s hard [to get back to the national team] because Spain has amazing forwards, not only those who have been called up recently.”
Spain drew 1-1 at Italy in a World Cup qualifier on Thursday. They’ll play at Albania in a qualifier on Sunday.
NYCFC, who are currently tied atop the Eastern Conference with the New York Red Bulls, will return to action on Oct. 16 at D.C. United.