David Villa Sánchez (3-12-1981) has just retired from active football and has the honor under his arm of being the player who has scored the most goals (59) in the 100-year history of the national team. He still speaks in the present, as if he were playing and in the AC La Finca hotel, a few meters from his house, he takes stock.
-Not a bad business card.
-Well, for a child who dreamed one day simply to debut and defend my country's shirt in my sport, it is not bad to have become the top scorer. It is something precious.
-Decide to withdraw from football with his record hits just when 100 years of life of La Roja.
-Yes, 100 years and with a centenary end with many successes, but also with a great story behind, great players, many battles of all those who have defended that shirt and see me there the first of the scorers is something fantastic.
– Have you looked a lot in all this time the femur of his right leg that broke being a kid and another child fell on him?
-I have never given much importance to that bone for two reasons. One because I was practically unaware of what happened to me. Was very small. The memories that come to me are flashes that my parents tell me. And the second because I never had sequels. I am not aware that this happened to me, so I have never given it much importance.
-You have been almost the last Mohican, everyone left before: Casillas, Puyol, Piqué, Xavi, Xabi, Iniesta, Torres … Only Sergio Ramos remains.
– Spend time flying for everyone. What you have to do is enjoy it as much as a player as now as a spectator. Seeing the difficulties we had, I feel very happy to have overcome them and belonged to that generation.
– Fernando Hierro said a few days ago in As that we have not enjoyed enough of the three consecutive titles. Or have you enjoyed them?
-Yes, but I agree with Fernando. It is because of the maelstrom, competitiveness. You enjoy today, but tomorrow you lose and everything collapses. It is something that is implanted in football. It's hard to enjoy because the next day you have to compete again. It's reality. And you start enjoying them more the moment you stop playing, to compete. You look back and realize that these are very important things that we could have celebrated more, but the maelstrom has not left us.
–Time passes and we have not found the heirs of the two great strikers of that golden age of the three titles. Llorente, Soldier, Negredo, Diego Costa, Morata, Alcácer, Aspas, Rodrigo …
-It's complicated. That's why it makes me feel more proud. During this time, and even in our time, there have been very important players who have lived through different stages because they have been without time. Fernando and I were practically always summoned if there was no penalty or injury. That is very complicated. Fernando and I have to feel proud. And Raul previously. Not only is it to reach the National Team, but also to keep us for such a long time at that great level. To be in the selection you need to do well in your club and then do better when you go to the selection. I value it a lot and surely Fernando too.
– Or maybe you were better than you might think and time has put you in the right place?
-Can be. Obviously something we must have to be so long, it has a great difficulty having done what we have done. We always understood each other very well, we always had that important relationship with the people who played behind us. It helped us a lot to have been born in the generation we were born and there is also a part of talent on our part, without it we would not have been able to stay so long.
-You mixed well as strikers … They were a perfect match. He more to the spaces, you more in short props …
-I always said that Fernando helped me a lot. I have shared front with other players in the National Team, but with him more than with any other. We complemented very well. What he had good, maybe I didn't have it. My conditions made him better and yours than I was. We have helped each other a lot in the goals too. He has scored less than me, but some were very important. What he lacked, I had and we both had the ability to take advantage of the circumstances of the game.
-Luis Aragonés and Del Bosque agreed to send you a little to the left wing. They moved away from the area, away from the goal, their natural habitat. Why did the two technicians agree on the same tactical variant?
– In the 2008 Eurocup, when we played with two strikers, Luis always told me to separate, that he didn't want me to hit the centrals, that Fernando was more the reference and that I would get closer to the crazy little ones Now seen, Over time, it was a very wise decision for both of us. There came a time when it was difficult to play with two strikers. It was necessary to incorporate midfielders, the Iniesta, Xavi, Silva, Cesc, Xabi, Busquets … It was difficult to connect everyone with two front strikers and both Luis and Vicente saw that I, due to my conditions, could fit more to the left than Fernando .
Both gave me a lot of freedom of movement. I have played on the left in other teams and it was not the same as in the National Team. It is not the same for a forward to have total freedom to have to defend, follow the defense. The two told me we only move you to the left because we believe it can help us, but you are one more forward. That confidence helped me to feel left even better than fixed in the center. Participated more in the game, than being nine pure.
– If I had to choose one of its main virtues, I would choose how well it mixed support uncheck and break uncheck.
-Yes, it might be my best virtue. Especially in building the game. The patience I had to be open. Many times the game happened and I wanted to go to be closer to the goal, but since I was already playing with Xavi and with Andrés in Barcelona, I understood that role that seemed not to participate in the game, but I was creating spaces for Andrés and Xavi They were comfortable and at the same time on second play they were going to make me play. We also had Xabi Alonso, Busquets or Piqué, who had a great change of orientation and that allowed me that being open could sting space, avoiding the offside and creating a goal chance. I felt very comfortable in the band.
-In addition you were one of those who lived well with the offside, were friends of the soul.
-I always lived in the offside line. I know there are statistics that say that I am one of the players with more gameplay in the history of the League. Really when you live as I did you have to fall, but when you do well you score many goals playing to the limit. He has given me more than he has taken from me. It was a good idyll. Not only are the goals you score directly but the spaces that you generate by setting the center and the side so that they do not come out.
“With goal you are born, but also macerated”
–He has recognized feeling more than comfortable fallen to a band, but if Luis or Del Bosque had given him the choice of the position he liked best, what would he have chosen.
-I had this conversation with Vicente. He told me I see you at ease in the band and asked me the same as now. And I replied that I was very comfortable. I participated much more, I had to fight much less with the centrals in the physical aspect and I was not a strong forward. I told him that I stayed there and there was a fairly long stage, especially in the National Team that preferred to play outside than inside.
-Because of his 2012 injury, Del Bosque had to invent the figure of ‘false nine’ with Cesc, with Silva, even with Pedro.
-I would have liked to enjoy that Eurocup from the inside, of course, but I enjoyed it from another field and we did a very good football, not only to win it. We had the ability to reinvent ourselves. I got injured, Fernando had not had a great year and Vicente reinvented himself with that figure and we knew how to get out of an adverse situation, such as my injury, with the entry of other players.
– With which goal is born or the goal is macerated over low heat throughout the race?
-Both. It is born, just like being a footballer. There is something you have for instinct, you take it inside and then in the end you work it in your training stage and later. I just retired, but until the last day I learned things. I have been gradually better players, better striker, better person. It's the good thing about football that you can grow. But a part is born with her.
“The goal produces addiction … when it does not arrive”
-The goal produces addiction.
-Yes. You have to know how to take it. Especially in the moment that does not arrive.
-A striker without a goal is nobody, right?
-All football players tend to be a bit selfish in a good way. Being selfish also thinking about the team is important. I always think about the goal. I enter a game and think about the goal. The first thing is that the team wins, whatever happens, but if you score, the team has more chances to win and that is what the team demands. The goalkeeper enters the field thinking that his team wins, but the most important thing for him is that they don't score a goal. They prefer to win 1-0, than 5-3. It is something that goes in the blood. And I think the striker has to be like that. I am so…
-Keep talking like a scorer …
-So recently I have retired that I still feel like a footballer. Or so … Try to get along in the process when you lack the goal, to also try to enjoy football, not to go to the locker room and say it was not a complete game because I have not scored a goal. I've been fighting throughout my career with it, with those situations. When you have not scored, it is as if you had missed something when doing your job.
“I always took football home”
-Not marking has come to produce insomnia.
-I have always slept well, but give more turns to the bed, sure. Since I started until the last days. I am a person who always took football home. I am not of that type of people who when he leaves the locker closes the blind and until the next day. No. I kept thinking about football all day and analyzing both good and bad things.
-He has scored 59 goals with the National Team. Which one is left with the first or the last?
-With everyone. And if I had to choose one, I would not choose even the first against Slovakia, which was important, but we had the classification made, nor with the last one, which was nice but it did not help much because in that match we were already at home. I would keep the important ones and that they were the ones who gave us the passes both in the European Championship and in the World Cup.
-The striker is more selfish than the midfielder or defender.
-We are all and it is good if it is for the benefit of the team. The most important thing for everyone, take the glory one or the other, is that the team wins. Is a reality. If the team wins, we all live happily. If you lose, it doesn't matter who scored the goal. In any job you have to be selfish. I have to enter the field thinking that I have to score a goal. The people who work with me, expect me to score a goal, do not expect the right side to score a goal. They expect him to defend the far left well, not to make centers. In my case, you need to score for the benefit of the team. That bit of selfishness of saying today I want to score, I need to score, I think it's good.
–I have been told that if I give him an afternoon he is able to tell us one by one how were the 59 goals with the Red …
-And the 425 that I marked in my career, without any doubt. I would simply need to have some free time to give the mind and start thinking. It's like a mailman who deals cards. It is my soccer abc. All I have achieved is to do many things, but above all to score goals.
“For me football was to see the National Team”
-Always talk about his first game as international as something unforgettable. And that was against San Marino … He didn't score.
-He had many boy dreams. Since I had reason I always wanted to play football and be a soccer player. And among dreams, the greatest of all was to play a game with the national team. It was from many teams. Of many players and the teams where those players were. It was very Luis Enrique … But the first shirt I had was that of the national team. For me football was to see the National Team. My father said, today plays the National Team. That day I fulfilled the dream of dreams. I had arrived where I had proposed.
-World of Germany 2006. Bittersweet?
-The process until the 2008 European Championship was difficult for everyone. Learning. Many of us were very young and inexperienced. Living that bad moment of the World Cup helped us to see how important and how beautiful it could be to change that situation that Spain never won anything, that the same thing always happened… They were bad moments but we knew to turn everything around.
-Luis said that 2006 made them a man.
-It was what I was trying to explain. Luis was more direct. It made us mature.
–Eurocup 2008. All rolled. Semifinals against Russia. It occurs to him to throw a frank blow and is injured. The final against Germany is lost.
-I don't regret throwing it away. I never regretted anything I did. They asked me if I could not play the final was a thorn stuck and I thought it was a privilege that was on the bench in a final and on top had been protagonist until then. I enjoyed it very much. The disgust lasted a couple of hours, I was quickly aware of what it meant to be there, even though I was injured.
-In the 2010 World Cup, all your goals serve to win games.
-That is why they are the goals that I give more importance. The ones that I remember the most are always those who finish the game and we have won 1-0, 2-1 or 3-2 and have scored the victory goal. It's what has always filled me up.
-Without those goals we would not have a star.
-They could have made another player, I had the confidence of the coaches and was the finalizer. I made the goals that the whole team worked for me to finish.
“In the World Cup we were enlightened”
– And how many times has he told Andres, doomed you scored the goal he had dreamed of all his life?
-In that World Cup we were enlightened. Everything was given. If you do a survey before the game and ask who we wanted to make the goal, I think we would all have said Iniesta. For what it represents on and off the field. I would have liked to mark it on me, Cesc or Torres, but it was perfect for him to mark it. It was like saying this generation has won for what it has done, but also for how it has done it and in this sense Andrés was one of the best ambassadors of this style of play and the way of watching football.
-Then comes the injury of the Mundialito and the Eurocopa 2012 that is lost in the lontananza.
-There I suffer a lot. The first thing that comes to mind when I begin to be aware of the seriousness of the injury is the European Championship. Will I be able to arrive? He had never had a serious injury. And when they start talking to me about months, I start throwing my accounts. The doctors looked at me weird. Like saying, let's try it but it's complicated. I did everything I had to do to get there.
I had a surgery on December 19, I left the clinic on 24 in the afternoon to spend the night with my family. On 25 I went to the clinic and 31 and 1… I couldn't do more. I did not arrived. A great learning And I was lucky. It would have been much more hurt if the team had not won. I would have thought, I failed, but when I won half a lot of joy.
-He had to throw many flats to call Del Bosque and tell him that he was not on time.
-That day was one of the most complicated of my career. We talked almost every week with Vicente, with Miñano, Dr. Cota came to see me. All expectant. Vicente one day told me that although I was in an average situation, as if not to be an undisputed holder, he wanted to count on me because he had won it and it was important that he was on the team. One month left. I talked to everyone and said that it was best not to go. The first because I was not in a position and was not going to help the national team and I had to think about my club that wanted to have me to the top for the next preseason. That's why I said no. I was sincere. He wanted to take me
-World 2014. Diego Costa arrives and takes over the position. You do not play until the last match against Australia, with Spain already eliminated. It is when that phrase comes from the soul when it is replaced after having scored a beautiful heel goal. “No man no”.
-That World was difficult for me. Good for everyone It was not as we all expected. The line between winning and not winning is very complicated but falling into the first phase did not enter the calculations. We had equipment to arrive later. I had to live a different role. It was no longer so important. Vicente bet on other players. It was hard not to play the first two games. I tried to live it in the best possible way. Being prepared in case one day he needed me as usual. In the end I was not needed until the last day already eliminated.
-What did he mean by that phrase?
-I had already announced that I was going to New York. I took the game like any other. I did not leave the selection. Now retired I do not leave the selection either. It does not come from my saying no to the national team, although I respect the decision of other players. I was aware that it was difficult for them to call me again. I was leaving the Spanish, European market. I was going to a League that is not one of the five best in the world. I thought maybe it could be my last game. I faced it with a huge illusion. That's why I played a great game. I entered the field saying today is my World Cup final. It was the game that nobody wants to play. We were going home, but I didn't care. When the change I was a little surprised. He had not played in the World Cup, he had made the goal, we were winning. I did not expect. The phrase is like saying don't take me out man. More than anger it was a disappointment.
-Who was going to tell him that three years and two months later, Lopetegui was going to re-fish him and he was going to wear the Red one again. At that time he said he expected more controversy, more noise, for his call.
-Then I was 34-35, I had not gone for three years, I played in MLS and I always put myself in all situations, not just in good times. I was at a good level, but people didn't see me. I expected people to criticize Julen more and it was the opposite. I took a huge joy. People received me with love. It was a shame that he injured me against Italy and I lost the Liechtenstein game, but the story ended well. It was a fantastic experience. Relive situations that had made me so happy.
-But it stays two games of the Centenary.
-I don't see it as a thorn. As a child I dreamed of putting on my shirt one day. And I put it on 98. 100 is a number, something fetish, but 98 is a barbarity and not only the games but what we won. Make important goals.
- Luis Aragones. Our father and the beginning of everything.
- Vicente del Bosque. Continuity.
- Fernando Torres. My great partner
- Pepe Reina. My brother, my confessor, my help, my psychologist. Everything.
- A match. The final of the World Cup.
- A goal. Chile's World Cup.
- A question I would like to answerr. It has made me all.