World Cup-winner David Villa to head Odisha FC’s global football operations


Bhubaneswar: 2010 World Cup-winner and Spanish football legend David Villa has joined Indian Super League side Odisha FC and will head global football operations, the club announced on Thursday.

Villa made his international debut for Spain in 2005 and was an integral member of the teams that won Euro 2008 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He scored three goals at the 2006 World Cup, was the top scorer at Euro 2008, and earned the Silver Boot at the 2010 World Cup.

Villa also became the first Spanish player to ever reach 50 international goals and after a brief comeback in 2017, he retired from the national team with 59 goals in 98 matches, making him Spain’s all-time top goal scorer as well as the country’s top scorer in the World Cup, with nine goals.

“I will try to bring my experience. Obviously, I didn’t play in India but I played soccer for 20 years as a professional and before that in the academy. And in all of the projects that we (my team) are involved in, I try to give all of my experience that I have in soccer,” Villa said after joining Odisha FC’s Football Committee.

“It’s an absolute pleasure to welcome David Villa and the DV7 group to the Odisha FC family! It’s crazy to think that when I started watching football I used to see David, on my television. Now together we are trying to help grow football in Odisha. It’s also a pleasure to work with Victor Oñate who has years of football business experience in Spain and of course coach Josep Gombau who is not only a fan favorite but family to us,” Odisha FC CEO Rohan Sharma said.

It is also a kind of reunion of former head coach Gombau as he and Victor Onate are also associated along with Villa as a part of the DV7 group. Their role includes advising the coaching staff, improving the Indian and youth players, providing general support to the on-field activities among others.

“David’s arrival is a statement of intent for Odisha Football Club, the region, the supporters and, of course, the Indian Super League in general,” Odisha FC president Raj Athwal said. Villa was also successful at the club level.

Villa started his professional career with Sporting de Gijón in 2001 before moving to Real Zaragoza after two seasons making his La Liga debut and winning Copa del Rey and Supercopa de España. He joined Valencia in 2005 and captured another Copa del Rey title.

At age 28, Villa registered 28 league goals and garnered a move to Barcelona in 2010 winning his maiden La Liga and UEFA Champions League titles. He left the club in 2013 for Atlético Madrid, where he won another La Liga title.