David Villa to join Fernando Torres and Andres Iniesta in Japan as NYCFC exit looms
David Villa is leaving New York City FC, it has been announced. The striker, who has spent the last four years playing in Major League Soccer, looks set to swap the east coast for the far east, with a move to Japanese side Yokohama F Marinos on the cards, as reported by Pablo Maurer.
Villa was part of NYCFC's first ever squad after the team joined MLS in 2014, wearing the captain's armband from day one. He has played alongside some legendary players including Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard during his time in America, as well as nurturing some young stars such as England U21 player Jack Harrison.
36-year-old Villa has racked up 80 goals for NYCFC over the past four years, and now fancies a change before he finally hangs up his boots. And where better to move than Japan, where his former international teammates Fernando Torres and Andrés Iniesta are enjoying a relaxed end to their glittering careers.
Yokohama F Marinos have ties to the City Football Group, which comprises Manchester City, NYCFC and Melbourne City.
In a statement on Wednesday, Villa thanked NYCFC for the past four years.
“I can only say thank you, thank you to everybody,” Villa said.
“First, to City Football Group that gave me the opportunity to come here. To NYCFC and MLS for accepting me. To everybody at the club who helped me day by day. Thank you to the people in the offices, the people working with the team and the coaches and staff. Thank you to my teammates - without them it would have been impossible to be successful. Thank you to the people working in the media that always gave me the respect and the love.
“I remember the first day I showed the jersey and the supporters were there. I would have liked to give the supporters the MLS Cup, but I don’t have any doubts that in the next years the club will get it for sure.” Villa scored from the start of his MLS career, getting NYC’s first Yankee Stadium goal in a home-opening win vs. New England before going on to score 18 in his debut season."