By Michael Lewis
HARRISON, N.J. — There is no doubt that David Villa is living the dream.
He is the leading goal-scorer and captain of New York City FC, which has the second best record in Major League Soccer.
Now, another dream has come true for the 35-year-old striker — he was recalled to Spain’s national team for World Cup qualifiers.
“I don’t have words. I am in a dream right now,” Villa said after NYCFC’s 1-1 tie with the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena Friday night. “I dreamed a long time ago to go back to the national team again and now it’s like a dream. When I think about being in Spain the next week, I’m just thinking about enjoying this opportunity, working strong to give everything I have in myself for the national team and hope the team get classification for Russia 2018.”
Villa, Spain’s all-time leading goal-scorer (59 goals in 97 appearances), last wore his country’s jersey at the 2014 World Cup.
“I was never thinking don’t come back to the national team,” Villa said. “The night before the coach always calls the roster I’m always a little nervous to wake up and be on the roster. One week ago, I was thinking about it like a dream and today the dream is true. I am so happy.”
Spanish coach Julen Lopetegui, who scouted the striker at Yankee Stadium this year, told Villa the good news Thursday night.
“He called me last night. He told me him and the staff were watching a lot of games of mine with NYCFC the last months,” Villa said. “He was thinking I can help in these two games of qualification. I will try to do my best to help the national team.”
The Spaniards will welcome Italy in Madrid Sept. 2 and will face Liechtenstein Sept. 5.
“It’s really good. We are all really happy and really excited,” NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira said on WFAN.com. “It’s really good news for the football club. It’s really good news for MLS and of course it’s really good news for David because when you receive a phone call from the manager who wants you to come and help the national team to score goals, it just shows how good he is doing for us. Not just this year but last year too. We are really pleased and really happy for him.”