David Villa returns to Spanish national team


Julen Lopetegui has made a surprise inclusion to his Spain squad for World Cup qualifying matches with Italy and Liechtenstein, handing a call-up to all-time top-scorer David Villa.

The New York City forward last appeared for La Roja at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, scoring against Australia in a 3-0 win before announcing his retirement from international football.

david villa
David Villa is Spain’s all-time top-scorer, netting 59 goals from 97 caps. He is followed by legendary striker Raul, who managed 44 in 102 caps, while Fernando Torres is third with 38 in 110 caps. His record will take some effort to beat; David Silva is the closest active Spain player to Villa’s goal-total, with 32, followed at a distance by Pedo, with 17.

His inclusion acknowledges his exceptional form in the MLS and addresses the absence of Diego Costa, who hasn’t played this season as he continues to push for a move away from Chelsea.

Lopetegui has named under-21 European Championship stars Saul Niguez, Gerard Deulofeu, Marco Asensio and Kepa Arrizabalaga, while there is no place for Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Javi Martinez, Lucas Vazquez, Paco Alcacer and Nolito.

World Cup Qualifying Squad vs. Italy and Liechtenstein

Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Pepe Reina, Kepa Arrizabalaga

Defenders: Jordi Alba, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marc Bartra, Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Nacho Monreal, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos

Midfielders: Thiago Alcantara, Isco, Sergio Busquets, Suso, David Silva, Andres Iniesta, Saul Niguez, Koke

Forwards: Marco Asensio, Iago Aspas, Gerard Deulofeu, Vitolo, Alvaro Morata, Pedro, David Villa


  1. Of course he’s doing well in the MLS, it’s like he’s up against the equivalent of League 2 sides every week. The MLS goalkeepers are especially bad.


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