David Villa - Celebrating
USA Today Sports

New York City FC's Designated Players note importance of being together from start of preseason

NEW YORK – He’s been linked to numerous clubs for a short-term loan when his first Major League Soccer season comes to an end Sunday, but New York City FC captain David Villa has other plans for the offseason.

“Rest,” he said after training at Yankee Stadium on Friday

There have been reports claiming Villa, 33, could go to Barcelona and Manchester City, and the striker even previously said he was contacted by numerous clubs after NYCFC were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

But Villa all but shot down any possibility of playing in Europe during the offseason, instead mentioning the importance of joining his teammates for preseason in January.

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“Obviously it will be very important, it will be a good help for us to be all together from the beginning,” Villa said. “I said it lots of times throughout the year that it’s been tough having players start from the middle of the season. Having us all start from the beginning will be very helpful.”

Frank Lampard, who previously also said he had no plans of going on loan during the offseason, said it's critical the entire group is together from the start of next season.

Lampard and fellow Designated Player Andrea Pirlo were two of five newcomers in July and it took until the end of the season for them to feel comfortable on a new team and in a new league.

Pirlo also said he has no plans of an offseason loan. 

“No, I haven’t given it any thought,” Pirlo said. “We’ll still be training until December and after my vacation I will see what I’ll do.”

“I will go on vacation, I will train and I will prepare myself for the next season,” he added.

NYCFC coach Jason Kreis, whose job is reportedly in jeopardy, also stressed the importance of the entire team – Designated Players included – being together when preseason starts.

“I think it’s hugely important that the players take the offseason and use it for what it should be used for,” Kreis said. “Some of the younger players need more development and training in good training environments and some of the older players need rest and recuperation.”