David Villa has proven himself one of the world's best—and most consistent—goalscorers of the new millennium. With four different clubs, he tallied at least twenty goals in ten consecutive seasons through 2012, a feat that few in European football can lay claim to. In that time, let's not forget, he led Spain's front line to two consecutive international trophies, climbing to the top of their goalscoring charts in the process.
Amidst the spectacular rise and fall of Fernando Torres, David Villa has always gone about his business of scoring goals—in Spain and for Spain, from the center or as a winger, with his head and with his feet.
Villa's broken leg in late 2011 put an end to his decade-long run of form, and may have cost Barcelona a few trophies last season as well. But even with sparse playing time and inconsistent form, El Guaje has netted 14 times this season, second only to the incomparable Lionel Messi at the Camp Nou. And there's plenty of reason to believe his inconsistency this campaign has been a result of mismanagement.
Coming back from a devastating injury is never easy, but signs early in the season suggested Villa was fit and ready to play his best football again. In his first five league appearances, he scored three times in only 110 minutes on the pitch—a return even Messi would be proud of. After such an impressive start, it was a little odd to see Villa left off the teamsheet for virtually every important match Barcelona played, and it's no wonder he has failed to develop the kind of confidence and consistency that's been a hallmark of his career.
Sadly, I think Villa's time as a superstar at Barcelona may be in the past, though he is still fully capable of playing the kind of football that brought him there in the first place. If Villa moves on from the Camp Nou this summer, he will yet be a sensation wherever he goes, because he is a truly versatile player, one of the finest strikers of his generation. At only 31 years of age, there's plenty of great football left in him. Let's hope Tito Vilanova sees it that way too.