Tokyo: Star striker David Villa, Spain’s top goalscorer, will retire next month, ending a glittering career in which he won the World Cup, European Championships and Champions League.
The 37-year-old Vissel Kobe striker said he will call it a day at the end of the 2019 J-League season after a 19-year career that took in Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia while accumulating 98 caps for his country.
“I have decided to end my professional career and that I have decided to retire,” Villa said in Kobe, his voice occasionally breaking with emotion.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. This is the result of discussions I had with my family and people around me. I wanted to retire from football, not be forced to retire from football.”
Villa will become an investor in Queensboro FC, a new franchise based in the New York district of Queens that will play in the second tier of US football.
“Even though I will no longer be on the pitch, I will continue to be involved in football in other ways and will continue to contribute to the football world,” he said.
Villa played in three World Cups and was a member of the Spanish side that lifted the trophy in 2010 and won the European Championships in 2008, though he missed out on the 2012 triumph through injury. He scored 59 times for Spain, a national record.
His club honours include the 2010-11 Champions League, the 2011 Uefa Super Cup, 2011 Club World Cup and two La Liga wins in 2010-11 and 2012-13 with Barcelona. He won a third La Liga with Atletico in 2013-14.