David Villa on life in New York
Recalled to the Spain squad at 35, the ex-barça ace is thriving in MLS thanks to Patrick Vieira
You have been in great form and have a good chance of winning this season’s Golden Boot in MLS. How much different is scoring on the other side of the Atlantic compared to Spain? It is pretty much the same whoever you play for – I always do what I’m asked, which is scoring goals. It’s my job. I’m happy with life at New York City FC. With the help from my team-mates and the coach, Patrick Vieira, I can continue to play at a high level.
What’s it been like playing for Vieira at NYCFC? He’s got a great knowledge and understanding of the game and a great personality, too. Everybody in the team likes him. He always gives the players lots of information before matches and he’ll study the games all of the time. He is at the club seven days a week, even on a Sunday. He’s got a great future as a manager in front of him and I believe he will be very successful for many years to come.
Do you ever talk about the days when you would line up against each other for Spain and France? Of course. Recently we talked about France against Spain in the last 16 of the 2006 World Cup. Both of us scored in that match, but France won and went all the way to the final, so he liked bragging about that a little bit! But it’s no problem – we both won the World Cup and the Euros, so we’re very happy.
“VIEIRA HAS A GREAT KNOWLEDGE OF THE GAME AND IS AT THE CLUB SEVEN DAYS A WEEK. HE’LL BE A VERY SUCCESSFUL MANAGER”
What is New York like as a city? My family loves it here and I love it too, but I came here to play football first and foremost. It’s a metropolis but I’ve always played in large cities, so it was not too big an adjustment.
People were pretty shocked when Thierry Henry was pictured using the subway on his way to training. Have you done that since arriving? Of course, I do it all the time! Within the city I never use a car – it makes no sense because the traffic is really bad. I’ll always hop on the subway.
Do you ever get recognised by fans? Occasionally I do, but so what? Fans never bother me. Sometimes they will want to take a photograph or ask me to sign something, which I will always do. I haven’t got a problem with that. In life it’s very important to appreciate other people, especially when they’re being friendly to you. Whenever they stop me on the streets and smile or say ‘Hi’, I’m happy – it makes me feel good and hopefully they feel good too.
What do you think about the other type of ‘football’ played in America? I quite like American football. I went to a New York Giants game once and had a great time. I’m also a fan of baseball.
Your NYCFC team-mate Andrea Pirlo is a fashion icon. Does he offer tips? No, I have my own style! Every Italian man I know loves clothes, so Andrea is no different. He knows everything about fashion, but I don’t really care very much about it so unfortunately he can’t help me too much. [Laughs] But it’s been amazing to go through this experience in New York with him, both on and off the pitch. He can pass the ball like no one else and he’s also an amazing guy. I love spending time with him, because it is never boring.
Did you have fun playing alongside Frank Lampard last season as well? I liked Frank a lot. He was such a nice guy. He suffered a lot with injuries but whenever he played he was amazing. All the New York fans really loved him.
What will you do when you retire? I have not made up my mind yet and don’t have a specific plan – I just live day by day and try to play football at the highest level. I feel good and am not thinking of retiring. I’m still scoring goals and hopefully I can win a trophy while I’m in New York. I believe I have got a few more years of ahead of me.