It's a rarity that a national team squad list provides such a surprise. Occasionally a new talent makes the step-up or the news may surround a certain big name player's omission Yesterday's announcement that David Villa was recalled back into the international set-up was certainly not anticipated. After the 2014 Brazil World Cup for many he went off the radar with a move to new MLS franchise New York City FC. For many observers MLS (was and still) is seen as a retirement centre. A view also held by many on Xavi's move to Qatar: he's still playing, sharing his experience but off the major footballing beacon.
Villa at NYCFC
Villa has bagged 62 goals in 93 games in the sky-blue NYCFC shirt and this has prompted interest from Lopetegui with Diego Costa currently out of action. Villa joins other strikers, Morata and Iago Aspas in offering the national coach various attacking options. The NYCFC forward still retains a impressive burst of pace over a short distance and with his call-up, the Asturian edges out veteran Aritz Aduriz. Villa being ten months younger than the Athletic forward and many had believed that his international career was a thing of the past.
Russia 2018 qualifiers
Julen Lopetegui is not one for sentimentality and the reasoning for the recall is based on sporting merits. Time will tell whether the 35 year old secures playing minutes in the games against Italy and Liechtenstein but there will certainly be none of the tantrums that we saw between Casillas and Vicente Del Bosque. It will be odd in a way seeing the Asturian make the trip from New York to Las Rozas again and it will be hard not to be engulfed in aspects of nostalgia reflecting on the World Cup win in 2010 and the 2008 and 2012 Euro victories as we see Spain's all time top scorer don the famous red shirt again. David Villa is not just "another" player.