Football: David Villa set to play Phoenix

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

Spanish striker David Villa is in line for a visit to Westpac Stadium, after the A-League fixtures were announced today.

The Phoenix will play at Wellington's Westpac Stadium three times in the first five rounds but the stand-out fixture for football fans will be round eight against Melbourne City.

Melbourne City, formerly Heart but now owned by billionaire English Premier League club Manchester City, will be at Westpac in round eight on November 30 with their new high-profile signings Spanish international Villa and Damien Duff on show.

Spain's all-time leading goalscorer 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.

The Phoenix will open the season at Westpac Stadium on Sunday October 12 against Perth Glory and will be back at the same venue in rounds three (Newcastle Jets October 26) and five (West Sydney Wanderers November 7).

Coach Ernie Merrick was hoping for a solid block of home fixtures early in the piece and his wishes have been granted.

Phoenix General Manager David Dome said he was satisfied overall with the draw as those making it had faced significant challenges.

"The draw has been complicated by Australia hosting the Asian Cup, which shuts down the A-League over January, and then New Zealand and Australia host the Cricket World Cup through February and March," Dome said.

"That means no games through most of January, which affects all A-League Clubs, and Westpac Stadium is out of the equation in February and March so it's been a challenging process!

"We're working on venues now for February and March and hope to be able to release these soon.

"The club has worked with the FFA to get the best possible solution we can despite significant challenges."

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a4 at 22 Sep 2014 13:48:33 Processing Time: 563ms