David Villa's Injury Shouldn't Matter to Barcelona, but It's Trouble for Spain
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Whether he's plying his trade for club or country, you can always count on David Villa for goals. His awkward-looking injury in the Club World Cup semifinal victory over Al-Sadd will rule the striker out for 4-5 months at the least.
Pep Guardiola has been sparing in his use of Villa this season domestically and in Europe. Therefore, his unavailability, while problematic, is manageable given the talent at Barcelona.
There will be one man who will take this news as a bitter blow, and that is World Cup-winning manager Vicente del Bosque of the Spanish national team.
It would certainly be ludicrous to suggest that Spain are a one-man outfit as even stripped of any one of Iker Casillas, Xavi or indeed David Villa, it seems inconsequential considering the quality of substitutes available.
However, considering Fernando Torres' lack of goals, you could make the argument that Spain's strike force, no matter how well they are supplied from midfield, is lightweight without Villa.
The former Valencia striker only recently surpassed Raúl (and his ego) as the all-time leading goal scorer for his country. At both Euro 2008 and the World Cup in South Africa, his goals were instrumental, although it must be made clear that he was not on the pitch for the final in either tournament.
Any team with Lionel Messi in it can realistically use other players interchangeably. However, the purchase of Alexis Sanchez and the conveyor belt of technically gifted ball-goblins coming out of La Maisa gives Guardiola little need for concern.
Villa was primarily played as left-flank "outside attacker" and his ability to put away chances is surpassed by few players on the planet, but Barcelona have shown that they can continue to win matches regardless of who is actually playing.
David Villa has been playing with his club teammates long enough to develop that signature Barcelona telepathy, which translates easily onto the national stage. While Pedro may well reach Villa's level eventually, he isn't a like-for-like replacement and any other player coming into the national fold will have to adjust to the team's style of play.
The two likeliest candidates for replacing the frontman would seem to be Fernando Llorente and Álvaro Negredo, while perhaps Valencia's Roberto Soldado may finally get a seat on that plane that his form has deserved.
None of these players are proven at an international level, while Soldado has scored no small amount of goals in the Champions League.
Finally, at 30 years old, Villa has been there and done that. For club and country, he has won everything there is to win, except for of course the Club World Cup.
Experience is an intangible but invaluable asset at international tournaments, and the calibre of opposition next summer will be of the highest quality—particularly an improved Germany.
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