Spain’s leading goalscorer David Villa on Wednesday announced he would quit football next month, ending a successful career in which he won the World Cup, European Championships and Champions League.
The 37-year-old Vissel Kobe striker said he would retire at the end of the current J-League season. It was a glittering 19-year career that took in Barcelona, Valencia, and Atletico Madrid, with 98 caps for his country.
Speaking to reporters in Japan, he said “I have decided to end my professional career and that I have decided to retire,”
“I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. This is the result of discussions I had with my family and the people around me. I wanted to retire from football, not be forced to retire from football,” he said.
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.
The former Barcelona forward featured in three World Cups and was part of the Spanish side that won the World Cup 2010 and won the European Championships in 2008. But he missed out on the 2012 European tournament through injury. He is the highest goal scorer for Spain, scoring 59 times.
Villa won the Champions League in 2011, the 2011 UEFA Super Club, 2011 Club World Cup, and two La Liga titles in 2010-11 and 2012-13 with Barcelona.
He won his third La Liga title with Atletico Madrid in 2013-14 after leaving Barcelona.
Villa then moved to New York City Football Club to join Major League Soccer, where he scored 80 goals in 124 appearances.
He became New York City’s first-ever signing after his move from Athletico Madrid. He also became the first goalscorer at Yankee Stadium in an opening home win over the New England Revolution.
At Vissel Kobe in Japan, Villa played alongside fellow Spanish legend Andres Iniesta and German striker Lukas Podolski.
Vissel Kobe are currently 10th on the table in the J-League after 31 games.
He has scored 12 goals in 26 games for Vissel. And He is expected to play three more J-League matches as well as semi-finals and finals of the Emperor’s Cup.
His retirement ceremony will be on December 7, the day of his last J-League game.