Soccer: David Villa to play with Melbourne City

Spain's all-time leading goalscorer David Villa will play a guest stint in the A-League later this year with rebranded Melbourne City.  Photo / AP
Spain's all-time leading goalscorer David Villa will play a guest stint in the A-League later this year with rebranded Melbourne City. Photo / AP

Spain's all-time leading goalscorer David Villa will play a guest stint in the A-League later this year with rebranded Melbourne City.

Villa has recently left Spanish league champions Atletico Madrid and will join New York City for their inaugural MLS campaign beginning in March.

To maintain match fitness, he has been loaned to sister club Melbourne City, which was bought by English Premier League giants Manchester City earlier this year.

The only bigger signing in the A-League's history was Italian great Alessandro Del Piero, who spent two seasons with Sydney FC.

Villa has scored 56 goals in 94 internationals for Spain and could square off against the Socceroos when the two countries meet in the group stages of the world Cup in Brazil on June 24.

"It's very good for me in every sense," Villa said in a statement of his decision to link up with Melbourne City.

"From a football point of view it's the opportunity to play in a new league in a different country, and of course it will be ideal for me to get some competitive football in the period before the MLS season gets underway.

"I'm sure that playing for Melbourne City FC will be a marvellous experience. "What I've always done throughout my career is do the best I possibly can. "That is what I will do for Melbourne City FC in every game that I play for them. "I'll be giving everything for the team, just like I have with every club I've played for."

Villa, 32, is eligible to play a maximum of 10 games in the A-League between October and December.

But as he is joining Melbourne City as a guest player, the club will still be able to sign another international marquee.

Coach John van 't Schip said he was delighted Villa would be joining Melbourne City.

"David Villa is still at the peak of his game; he is playing his third World Cup in Brazil, has just won the Spanish league and is an instinctive and gifted striker who will contribute significantly to Melbourne City FC," van 't Schip said.

"We are confident David will be an incredible asset to the playing group and his experiences in Europe and for his country will help our players not only on the pitch, but in training as well."

Villa has won three Spanish La Liga titles with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and the 2011 European Champions League with Barcelona.

He is about to play in a third World Cup finals for Spain and was a key member of the winning squad of 2010. He was also the competition's top scorer with four goals when Spain won the European championship in 2008.

-AAP

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