Villa pushes for Spain starting role with warmup brace

The 32-year-old announced a week ago that he would join MLS side New York City FC from La Liga champions Atletico Madrid but he demonstrated his predatory instincts with two goals as a substitute against El Salvador on Saturday.


Villa missed Spain’s Euro 2012 success through injury but he has otherwise been an integral part of a side that won Euro 2008 and is looking to retain the World Cup this year.

He is Spain’s top scorer with 58 goals and boasts a 60 percent goal ratio from his matches for the national side.

Still the attention has been on fellow Atletico striker Diego Costa ahead of the World Cup as Villa is in the autumn of his career and in recent seasons he has not been as prolific in front of the goal.

“I don’t know whether I will be a starter but I will work with that aim,” he told reporters in Washington where Spain are finalising their preparation before heading for Brazil.

“I am happy with the two goals and another victory for Spain. It is a good test to play in these conditions with the heat and the problems that you have to overcome.

“We have been working hard and I think that we are ready now for the World Cup. I am happy with the condition of the team and obviously mine as well.

“The past doesn’t give you any advantage, now you have to work in order to repeat it.”

Villa broke his leg playing for Barcelona in the 2011 World Club Championships and in a difficult run since then he has only scored six goals for Spain.

Defending champions Spain play their first World Cup game against the Netherlands on June 13, with Chile and Australia the other teams in Group B.

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)