David Villa is “on cloud nine” as he makes a sensational return to Spain’s national team, but he’s not just there to fill out the squad.
After earning his first international call-up in more than three years last week, New York City FC’s star striker emphasized his eagerness to contribute to La Furia Roja in remarks to the media on Tuesday.
Spain are set to host Italy in a key World Cup qualifying match at Madrid’s Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday before visiting minnows Liechtenstein next Tuesday.
“I’m on cloud nine. I’m really happy to see all of my friends again, not just players. I have great memories from here,” said Villa.
“The same as always,” he said when asked about his goals and outlook. “To help, to be one more, and to give everything I’ve got for a win against Italy. It is down to the coach, and I’m going to give my all to help however he wants.”
It’s not entirely clear where Villa fits into Spain’s depth chart, but he’s determined to show manager Julen Lopetegui that he’s ready for whatever role is presented to him.
“I wouldn’t be disappointed if I don’t start. I’m having a marvelous few days,” said Villa. “It’s been three years since I last came here and I have to win [playing time] myself – what has happened before doesn’t matter. I hope the coach sees that I can do it.”
The last time Villa wore his country’s colors was back in the 2014 World Cup, before NYCFC even existed. But he made clear that his approach to the game has not changed a bit.
“I'm doing what I've done all my life; trying to compete at the highest level, give all that I have,” he said on Tuesday.
“I try to vindicate myself every day. I try to train well and prepare myself for the next match,” he added when asked about his mentality in MLS. “There are differences in the number of games, but I try to do the same with everything else. It doesn’t matter to me what league it is, and if the manager has given me the call, I would imagine he likes what he has seen.”