David Villa is used to winning.
From La Liga crowns to the Euro, the Champions League to the World Cup and Copa del Reys with three different Spanish sides, he’s been on the right side of the ledger more often than most.
That’s what makes his rapid fire answer to what he expects from his second season with New York City FC so biting, even starting with a laugh.
“Obviously, to be better than the last year,” Villa said in an exclusive interview with PST. “We’ll try to be competitive, a team that creates an identity in play. Our mentality is the same as last year: to get into the playoffs.”
Villa was directly involved in more than half of NYC’s 49 goals, with 18 goals and 8 assists in his freshman year in Major League Soccer, but the club had a horrible year despite his wattage.
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The 17 losses NYC suffered were six more than his last four La Liga seasons combined. He lost 17 matches with Valencia in 2007-08, but that wild year saw four manager changes — including current Premier League bosses Quique Flores and Ronald Koeman — and a Copa del Rey.
New York City fired Jason Kreis and hired Arsenal and France legend Patrick Vieira to take his place. So far, so good, says Villa.
“I’m very happy for what we’ve done in these two months,” he said. “He’s a good coach, who has good things for the team. In this position, we try learning consistency day-by-day on the training ground. We are ready for the start of the season.”
The move to America also had Villa trying his hand at something new, filming a commercial in English. Despite the high-profile, he wasn’t nervous. Didn’t do a bad job, either.
“I’m very happy with this campaign,” Villa said. “Obviously for me it’s very important for me because here in the U.S.A. and soccer in MLS is going up.”
Villa also obliged us with some answers to fun, quick fire questions:
On the prospects of NYC teammates from NYCFC, Mix Diskerud and Khiry Shelton
“Both players are very good. Mix is a player that normally goes to the national team. Khiry Shelton the same. Both have a lot of ideas in soccer and conditions to be great players. I hope both have good seasons.”
Best American player ever?
“For me, it’s Landon Donovan. When I watched his game or played against him with Spain (in the Confederations Cup), he was a very good player. If you want me to name one, I tell you Landon Donovan.”
Which former teammate will make the best manager?
“Very difficult question but for one player, I say Xavi Hernandez (right). His understanding of the concepts of soccer, he will be a good coach, too.”
Tell us a good Andrea Pirlo story.
“He’s obviously a good player, everyone knows this, but he’s a good person and teammate and I’m very happy to have this experience with him in the locker room.”
Of course he didn’t bite.