Barcelona snapped up Spain
striker David Villa from Valencia for 40 million euros on Wednesday, moving swiftly to strengthen their squad
just three days after winning the La Liga title.
Valencia president Manuel Llorente
said they had accepted
Barca's bid for the prized striker, who scored 21 league goals
last season to finish his fifth consecutive campaign as the
club's top scorer.
was a big offer from England that was not from
Chelsea but Barcelona's was the best for us and the footballer,"
Llorente told a news conference.
"Villa has delivered a lot (to
Valencia) and he deserves
& Villa already on good terms
28-year-old is Spain's second-highest scorer with 36
goals from 55 matches, eight short of the record held by Real
Madrid striker Raul, and he will be spearheading Spain's World
Cup campaign in South Africa next month.
"This is without doubt the most
difficult and emotive moment
of my entire career," Villa said in a statement on Valencia's
"After five marvellous seasons I take away many feelings and
leave behind many friends but also knowing that it is a good
thing for the club.
given my all for Valencia football club, which I
will always have in my heart, of which I am a shareholder and
which I wish all the luck in the world."
Barcelona confirmed the deal in a
statement on their website, saying Villa would sign a four-year
contract with an option for one more year.
The player, who Barca said
"guaranteed goals", will travel
to the Catalan capital on Thursday and will take a medical
before being presented on Friday.
Nicknamed "el guaje" (the kid),
Villa will join a formidable
Barca forward line including La Liga's leading marksman Lionel
Messi, Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Spaniards Pedro and Bojan
Thierry Henry spent most of last season on
the bench and is expected to move on.
Barca sporting director Txiki
Begiristain told the club's TV
channel on Wednesday Villa was a similar player to Messi in that
he could play as a centre forward or drift in from the right
wing into goal-scoring positions.
"He has the profile of a player
who makes very good diagonal
runs and moves very well into space," Begiristain said.
Valencia have been forced into the
sale by the precarious
nature of their finances. They are burdened with debts of more
than 500 million euros, they have a half-built new stadium and
have yet to sell their current one, the Mestalla.
"The board's principle objective
is to make sure we have
economic viability for the future," Llorente said, adding that
he did not rule out further sales.
"We are obliged to take
responsible decisions. Considering
our situation it is responsible to sell this player.
"As everyone knows we could have
done this deal last year
but we thought at that moment it was best to keep our squad
together to try and get into the Champions League.
"We have achieved that aim and
finished third in the league,
and he has contributed a lot towards this. We think it is good
sale and necessary for the economic situation of the club."
FACTS AND FIGURES
Born: December 3, 1981 in Tuilla, Spain.
After starting out with local team Langreo, joined
Sporting Gijon's youth academy aged 17. Scored 38 goals in 79
first-team appearances in the 2001/02 and 2002/03 seasons in the
La Liga club Real Zaragoza bought him for around 3 million
euros in 2003 and he scored 31 goals in 73 league
appearances over the next two seasons.
Scored a penalty to help Zaragoza win the King's Cup final
in 2004 when they upset Real Madrid 3-2.
Valencia bought him out of his contract with Zaragoza for
12 million euros in 2005 and he netted 25 goals in his first
season to finish one behind league top scorer Samuel Eto'o.
Won the King's Cup with Valencia in 2008 after a 3-1 final
victory over Getafe. In August, Valencia rejected a 40 million
euro approach from Real and extended his contract to 2014.
Scored 21 league goals for Valencia in the campaign just
ended, finishing fourth on the scoring chart behind Lionel Messi
(34), Gonzalo Higuain (27) and Cristiano Ronaldo (26).
Won his first international cap for Spain in a World Cup
qualifier against San Marino on February 9, 2005.
Scored three goals in the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany
when Spain were knocked out by France at the last 16 stage.
Was tournament top scorer at Euro 2008 in Austria and
Switzerland with four goals, but missed Spain's 1-0 final
victory over Germany due to injury.
Has become Spain's second highest scorer behind Raul (44)
with 36 goals from 55 matches.
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