David Villa wants to be remembered as a humble man when he brings his decorated career to a close.
The 37-year-old will retire in January after a season with Vissel Kobe in Japan’s J-League.
The former Barcelona striker ends his time as a player Spain’s record scorer having played internationally and domestically for two of the most dominant teams of the the recent era.
But, despite the time of superstars dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the World Cup winner is happy with his own legacy.
Villa told the PA news agency: “You can have success or not, you can have more trophies or less trophies but the most important thing is giving everything to the club.
“I want people to remember me like that, a humble player, who always gave everything on and off the field, a man who tried to help all the clubs he played for and gave 100 per cent to the sport.
“I feel always the love of the people, journalists and world soccer. I don’t compare myself with other players.
“I’m very happy with the love everyone gives me. I’m not more happy or less happy because people love other players more than me.
“I made the decision to retire after thinking about it a lot, talking with the people around me, who know me very well. It’s not an easy decision but it is the right decision, right now.
“I’m feeling good, I’m going to give everything to Vissel Kobe in the next month and a half and then I’m ready for the next step in my life and career.”
Villa went from Valencia to Barcelona and Atletico Madrid before spending four seasons with New York City FC, scoring 80 goals in 124 MLS games.
He won LaLiga with Barca, twice, and once with Atletico while also scoring in Barca’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester United in the 2011 Champions League final.
Villa netted 59 times in 98 appearances for Spain, winning the World Cup in 2010 and Euro 2008 – where he top scored with four goals.
Spain’s class of 2019 reached next year’s European Championship after a 1-1 draw with Sweden in October.
Luis Enrique is returning as manager, five months after stepping down from the role for personal reasons.
Enrique resigned in June as his nine-year-old daughter Xana was seriously ill with bone cancer and subsequently died in August, with Robert Moreno taking charge.
It is their first tournament since last year’s World Cup disaster when Julen Lopetegui was sacked two days before their first game after being announced as Real Madrid manager.
Spain, under temporary boss Fernando Hierro, lost on penalties to hosts Russia in the last 16 and Villa believes lessons have been learned by his country.
“It was a bad situation for our federation, our team, everything, I can’t say a lot as I wasn’t there but obviously the team wasn’t ready in the last World Cup,” said Villa, speaking at the launch of the Booking.com Stadium Suite at Wembley.
“I believe this has changed, we’re ready and in the next tournament we can do a good job.
“They have a great team but England are also one of the favourites, France, Germany, Holland. You never know though because the Euros has had surprises, Denmark years ago and Greece.
“These teams have the most possibilities to win.”
From January Villa will focus on leading the development of a new team in the New York borough of Queens.
Queensboro FC has been awarded a franchise in the USL Championship, the second tier of US football, from 2021.
But, unlike former Barca team-mate Xavi who is coaching Al-Sadd in Qatar, Villa does not see himself as a manager.
“I’m focused on Queensboro, not as a coach though,” he added. “I don’t look at myself as a coach. In the future I don’t know but for now I’m focusing on other things.”
For a chance to win the Ultimate Overnight Football Experience at Booking.com’s Stadium Suite at Wembley Stadium on the night of the Final of UEFA EURO 2020 visit www.booking.com/stadiumsuite (Ts&Cs apply)
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