were plenty of reasons for Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova to be
satisfied after his side secured a spot in the last 16 of the King's Cup
on Wednesday but David Villa's double probably comes near the top of
The prolific Spain
striker, sidelined for eight months after breaking his leg at the Club
World Cup last December, netted twice in a 3-1 victory at the Nou Camp
that eliminated third-tier Alaves 6-1 on aggregate.
goals were his seventh and eighth in 16 appearances since his return
from the injury, the first a magnificent free-kick, and took his career
tally for club and country to 301.
as 'El Guaje', or 'The Kid' in his native Asturian, Villa looks to be
back to something near his best at a crucial time for Barca, who are top
of La Liga and through to the last 16 of the Champions League.
day he looks better," Vilanova, in his first season in charge after
stepping up from assistant coach to replace Pep Guardiola at the end of
last term, told a news conference.
"It was a complicated injury and he has worked a great deal over the summer," he added.
"He is a player who has the scorer's gift and it is important to have him in the squad."
who turns 31 on Monday, joined Barca from Valencia at the end of the
2009/10 season after stints at Sporting Gijon and Real Zaragoza, where
he scored 40 goals for each club.
netting 128 times for Valencia, he now has 40 for Barca, plus another
53 in 85 games for Spain, making him the world and European champions'
record scorer, nine ahead of former Real Madrid striker Raul.
to Barca TV after Wednesday's Cup match, Villa said the "nicest" goal
he had scored was an effort from the middle of the pitch for Valencia
against Deportivo La Coruna, while the most important was the one
against Manchester United in the 2011 Champions League final.
Barca already leading 2-1, Villa's beautifully executed curling strike
from the edge of the penalty area effectively killed off United's hopes
of a comeback and helped to seal the Catalan club's second European
crown in three seasons.
you see the statistics it makes you think you have done a good job and
you feel proud," said Villa, who was declared fit only on Wednesday
morning after a brief stint on the sidelines with an ankle problem.
"It's been a long time since I came through a full game and I am very pleased to have lasted the 90 minutes," he added.
Barca leading 3-0 from the first leg against Alaves, Vilanova was able
to rest regulars including Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio
Busquets on Wednesday and gave promising youngsters including Jonathan
Dos Santos, Sergi Roberto and Gerard Deulofeu a run out.
also gave a senior debut to 21-year-old left-back Carles Planas, who
Vilanova said had been rewarded for good performances for Barca's B team
in Spain's second division.
"He is a player who has quality and he is perfectly capable of playing with us," Vilanova said.
"With Adriano and [Jordi] Alba in the squad it's not going to be easy for him but this Wednesday it was the right time."
to 18-year-old striker Deulofeu, Vilanova added: "Not all footballers
can step up to the first team at the age of 17 or 18.
have to keep challenging him. He has a lot of talent but also a lot of
things still to improve."
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