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New York City FC Signs First Player In Spain Star David Villa

David Villa (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

David Villa (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Spain striker David Villa has signed a three-year contract with New York City FC, becoming the first player on the expansion Major League Soccer team that starts play next season at Yankee Stadium.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

The 32-year-old forward helped Spain win the 2008 European Championship and the 2010 World Cup. He is a member of his country’s roster for next month’s tournament.

He missed the 2012 Euros, which Spain also won, after breaking his left leg while playing for Barcelona in the Club World Cup. He holds Spain’s record with 56 international goals.

“It’s a real honor that the people who have formed the club have focused their attention on me,” he said. “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.”

MLS said Monday that Villa was acquired on a free transfer from Atletico Madrid, where he scored 15 goals in 47 games in all competitions last season.

He previously played for Sporting Gijon (2001-03), Zaragoza (2003-05), Valencia (2005-10) and Barcelona (2010-13). He helped Barcelona win the 2011 Champions League title.

NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis said he “couldn’t be happier” with the signing.

“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.” Kreis said. “He is hard working, he is a natural competitor, he is 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 and it is a great day to be a member of this growing family of a club.”

NYCFC is co-owned by the Yankees and Manchester City.

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