New York City FC's David Villa, of Spain, speaks during a news conference at Yankee Stadium in New York. Image Credit: AP

Abu Dhabi: New York City Football Club superstar David Villa has revealed to fans in the UAE that he is greatly enjoying life at the club, which is part of the City Football Group owned by Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

The former Barcelona and Spain striker became the first man to score for the club at their home ground, the famous Yankee Stadium, during a 2-0 win against New England Revolution two weeks ago.

The club captain, who won the Spanish La Liga title with Atletico Madrid last season, celebrated in front of 43,500 fans and is now looking ahead to the rest of the Major League Soccer (MLS) season.

Villa, 33, said: “When I made this move, it was something different in my career and an exciting challenge. For me, it’s important not only to settle into a new league, but also a new country and culture.

“So far it’s going very well both on and off the field, I’m really enjoying training, playing and living in New York.”

Having spent his entire career in Spain before joining New York City FC, the striker is enjoying the challenge of learning a new language.

Responding to questions from football fans in the Middle East, he added: “I immediately started taking English lessons so I could communicate better with my teammates and the coaches.

“This is all very special and unique in my career. As a team, we speak about the chance we have here to make history. It’s important we work hard, but also enjoy the experience.

“I think we all feel lucky to be part of this project. It’s not easy bringing a whole new team together and we must be patient.”

New York City FC is the 20th franchise to join the MLS. The league has doubled in size from the 10 teams that competed during the inaugural season in 1996.

In May 2013 that it was announced that City Football Group and the New York Yankees were to invest in creating a football club for New Yorkers.

Spain’s all-time leading goalscorer with 59 goals in 97 appearances said: “We are seeing more and more excellent players come to MLS and this is good for the fans and for the league. It is always important to have players with good experience playing for US clubs.

“I think it is important to see more US players doing well. I think in [midfielder] Mix Diskerud we have a fantastic young player who American fans are excited to watch.

“We also have a team that is full of experienced MLS players and four players from New York, which is an amazing opportunity for us to get even closer to our fans.”

A familiar sight to football fans in the region will be the sight of Etihad Airways on the front of the New York City FC shirts, with the club planning to roll out merchandise and other fan activations in the UAE and beyond in the near future.