Former Barcelona, Spain Striker David Villa to Retire at End of J-League Season

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2019

KAWASAKI, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 28: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) David Villa of Vissel Kobe looks on during the J.League J1 match between Kawasaki Frontale and Vissel Kobe at Todoroki Stadium on September 28, 2019 in Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)
Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

Former Barcelona and Spain striker David Villa has announced he will end his career with Vissel Kobe at the end of the J-League season. 

Villa made the announcement on Wednesday via his official Twitter account:

David Villa @Guaje7Villa

It is my objective to put the cherry on top by winning the Emperor’s Cup with @visselkobe on January 1st. From then on, I will continue to enjoy football through all the projects that we’re currently developing with DV7 group. Thank you for all the love.

Per Goal's Josh Thomas, he also said in a press conference: "I've been thinking about this for a long time. This is the result of discussions I had with my family and people around me. I wanted to retire from football, not be forced to retire from football."

Vissel Kobe have three matches left to play in the J-League, while in the Emperor's Cup they'll face Shimizu S-Pulse in the semi-final on December 21.

The Spaniard has scored 12 goals in 26 appearances for the Japanese side, who paid tribute to him with a compilation of his highlights from his time at the club:

ヴィッセル神戸 @visselkobe

ビジャ選手のベストプレイ集も公開! #ヴィッセル神戸 の公式YouTubeをご覧ください!🎥 Now on the Vissel Kobe YouTube channel: the best of David Villa (@Guaje7Villa) in a #visselkobe shirt.🎥 #GraciasVilla https://t.co/ixKZr4b8Ny

The 37-year-old began his senior career at Sporting Gijon before joining Real Zaragoza in 2003. He scored 38 goals in 94 appearances, winning the Copa del Rey in his first season.

A five-year spell at Valencia, where he netted 127 goals, followed, and he lifted the Copa del Rey again in 2008.

Villa then bagged 48 goals in 119 appearances for Barcelona, where he won two La Liga titles, the UEFA Champions League and a third Copa del Rey, among other honours.

He scored a fine effort as Barca beat Manchester United in the 2011 Champions League final:

UEFA Champions League @ChampionsLeague

😍 Manchester United v Barcelona = a classic #UCL tie... ⚽️ Memorable goals down the years from this fixture! #UCL https://t.co/T8MH8Ayyg1

The striker helped fire Atletico Madrid to their first La Liga title since 1996 in the 2013-14 campaign before leaving the Spanish top flight a legend:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

The most prolific finisher in #LaLigaHistory? 🔥 🔝 @Guaje7Villa 🔝 https://t.co/1PmuzCYhPW

Football writer Andrew Gaffney paid tribute to him:

Andrew Gaffney @GaffneyVLC

One of the greatest strikers of all-time. Enjoy your retirement, David Villa! https://t.co/JL5heCZkra

Four years in Major League Soccer followed as he became the first player to join New York City FC in 2015. He netted 80 goals in 126 matches for the newly formed club.

On the international stage, Villa enjoyed plenty of success with Spain, for whom he is the record goalscorer. The striker overtook Raul's record of 44 goals for La Roja and ended his international career with 59 in 98 appearances.

He won UEFA Euro 2008 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup with his national side. He was not involved in the squad that won Euro 2012 due to a fractured tibia.