Another game, another disappointment, another goal-less game for FC Barce…umm, my bad, David Villa. The player, who caused Zlatan Ibrahimovic to reconsider his options, and ultimately leave for AC Milan, is doing everything but scoring.
Before he embarked for his new adventure with FC Barcelona, David Villa enjoyed hugely successful stints with Sporting Gijon, Real Zaragoza and Valencia CF. With the exception of the latter team, he didn’t have a top-class supporting cast (bar the Spanish national team of course). Being something of an unknown figure (at least on the continental scene), it took the 2008 European Championships to attract the attention of Europe’s biggest and best clubs.
The Big Break
In between his Euro 2008-coming-out-party and the eventual transfer to La Liga juggernauts FC Barcelona, the man nicknamed El Guaje was linked to every club with a legitimate shot at the UEFA Champions League title.
The list read like the who-is-who of Europe’s finest clubs: Chelsea FC, Manchester United, Liverpool FC, Barca’s eternal rivals Real Madrid (los Blanco’s then manager Bernd Schuster accused Villa of not having enough ambition) and nuveau riche Manchester City.
He had Europe at his feet, or better yet, knocking at Manuel Llorente’s door. In the end he opted to sign for FC Barcelona, who paid a massive 40.000.000€ (amidst a financial crisis) to acquire his services.
Move…Get Out the Way
On paper the combination of David Villa and FC Barcelona looks like a no-brainer. He is something in between Samuel Eto’o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (almost, he still is kind of short); he is quick, technically sound, agile, two-footed and absolutely lethal in front of goal…at least he was.
At the start of the season, the bookies and almost every so-called “expert” made him his No. 1 or 2 pick to become the Pichichi of the 2010/2011 season. But so far, his spell in Catalunya is the source of much frustration.
A few would have had predicted that, after seven rounds of domestic football, El Guaje only has a paltry two goals to his name. His predecessors Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto’o had seven and five goals, respectively.
But the joint all-time-record-scorer for Spain cannot be solely blamed for his abysmal return in front of goal; Pep Guardiola must also be held accountable.
Only Birds Have Wings, Thoroughbreds Stay on the Ground
Since the beginning of the season, we have witnessed, the perhaps most well-rounded striker at the moment, playing as an above-average winger. Guardiola wants to transform David Villa, out of all players, into the Spanish version of Thierry Henry.
David Villa, for his part, is guilty of wasting absolute sitters, not once or twice; he constantly misses chances he would have converted blindfolded in a Valencia shirt. As a consequence, he is most likely finished showering by the time the game ends, because he is usually substituted around the 80th minute mark.
If he is not finding his scoring-boots soon, he could literally take Ibrahimovic’s old place: the bench. The difference between him and the Swede is that it took Ibrahimovic longer to make that acquaintance. For now his place is safe, not because of his extraordinary contribution but rather the lack of options since Bojan is suffering from an even worse drought.
I sincerely hope that, between the publishing of this article and Villa’s next goal, there isn’t too much of a gap. And in an almost completely unrelated note, Samuel Eto’o just can’t stop scoring, whether it is Serie A (which is considered the most defensive) or the Champions League.
Thank you Pep Guardiola for getting rid of a certified goal-machine, big-game performer and Champions League hero, in order to burn through more than 100.000.000€ just to get to this point.
Your funny feelings gifted Inter Milan the Champions League and Europe’s most in-form striker. Genius, pure genius.