David Villa: I never retired from Spain national team, would accept call-up

Wednesday October 19th, 2016

When David Villa last played for Spain, it was the 2014 World Cup, and he left the national team as its all-time leading scorer with 59 goals. It's been presumed that he retired, but the New York City FC star and MLS Golden Boot contender says that's not the case. 

Speaking to SI's Grant Wahl on the Planet Fútbol Podcast, Villa, 34, said he never retired and that he would accept a call-up from new manager Julen Lopetegui.

"No I never retired from the national team," said Villa, who is three caps shy of 100 with La Furia Roja. He added that in speaking with reporters after Spain was eliminated from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil there was confusion about whether he was retiring or not, because he was going to go eight months without soccer after signing with NYCFC prior to its expansion season, which would rule him out of contention for a call-up any time in the near future.

"In this part of the season I can't go to the national team, because if I don't play in my club, I can't go to the national team," he said. "After that, I am ready again for the national team, but I accept it's difficult, because the coach in these eight months is thinking about other players. But I never said I retired from the national team, because to go with the national team is the most happy [I am] in my life, to play with the national team." 

• WAHL: David Villa is in talks with NYCFC to extend contract

Villa also acknowledged that it would be difficult to get back into the mix given the forward corps currently available to Lopetegui.

"I think it's difficult, because first of all Spanish strikers are very good–Diego Costa, [Alvaro] Morata, Paco Alcacer, Lucas Vazquez, Lucas Perez in Arsenal right now, [Aritz] Aduriz–it's a lot of very good players," he said. "It's good for Spain, Lopetegui is very happy to have a lot of change for choosing the players. But I am ready. If he wants, I go.

"I think it was a little bit confusing after Brazil, but I am very clear about this."

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