Spanish star David Villa signs with MLS New York

New York: David Villa, who helped Spain capture the 2010 World Cup and Atletico Madrid win this year's La Liga crown, has signed a three-year deal with Major League Soccer's New York expansion team.

David Villa
David Villa 

New York City FC announced the signing Monday, giving the new club its first-ever player and star power for its 2015 debut.

Villa will keep the number seven jersey he has worn for most of his career, including a stint at Barcelona where he won La Liga crowns in 2011 and 2013 and a 2011 Champions League title.

"I'm keen to do the best I can, take on board that extra responsibility and prove my worth by repaying the confidence they have shown in me," Villa said.

The New York MLS team is owned by English Premier League side Manchester City and Major League Baseball's New York Yankees. It will call Yankee Stadium home where a new stadium for the club is constructed.

"This is a historic and exciting moment," said New York FC chief executive Ferran Soriano. "He is one of the best footballers in the world, a true winner and in an outstanding moment of his career. I'm sure New Yorkers will enjoy watching him play for their city."

Villa is the Spanish team's all-time top scorer.

He netted four goals in Spain's 2008 European title campaign and five goals in Spain's run to the World Cup crown in 2010 and will play in his third World Cup on the squad that defends the trophy starting later this month in Brazil.

His career has also included club stops at Valencia, Real Zaragoza and Sporting Gijon.

Villa's American adventure will see him follow in the footsteps of such stars as Pele and David Beckham in trying to bolster the profile of football in America.

"Throughout my career I've always tried to keep pushing myself to achieve new targets and this represents another important goal for me," Villa said.

"I want to try and help MLS continue to grow through playing, working hard, scoring goals and at the same time try to make New York City FC become the best team in the league. It's a real honor that the people who have formed the club have focused their attention on me."

New York City FC coach Jason Kreis was overjoyed at landing Villa to lead the attack.

"David Villa is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished players and best strikers in the world," Kreis said. "I couldn't be happier that we have acquired such an amazing talent.

"David will be a shining example of what it will mean to be a New York City player and a leader for us on and off the field. He's hard working, a natural competitor. He's a winner at heart and he is a terrific man. David has checked every box for what we were looking for in our first signing."

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