What is the story with David Villa?

Posted by: Drago
I must admit I am really perplexed about what is going on in regards to David Villa. Despite doing well when he has been selected, he has struggled to get much playing time with Barcelona this season. Not surprisingly, this has led to plenty of rumours of his impending departure either at the end of the season or possibly even during this current January transfer window.
David Villa joined Barcelona in May 2010 from Valencia on a four year deal for a reported transfer fee of 40 million Euros. This was just prior to him playing an important part in Spain winning the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The 2010/11 season was very successful for both the player and Barcelona. Villa (V) scored 23 goals as part of what became known as the M-V-P strikeforce playing alongside Lionel Messi (M) and Pedro Rodriguez (P). Of all the goals Villa scored that season, the most memorable were his two in our 5-0 "Manita" destruction of Real Madrid at Camp Nou and his brilliant effort in the Champions League Final against Manchester United which probably clinched our wonderful victory. With David Villa playing an important role in Barcelona winning both La Liga and the Champions League that season he had well and truly justified the expense involved in his signing.

David Villa had scored nine goals for Barcelona in the 2011/12 season when he unfortunately broke his leg in the Club World Cup Semi Final against Al Sadd in Yokohama in December 2011. He did not play again that season and his absence proved costly for Barcelona. It is impossible to say what would have happened, but I would loved David Villa to have been on the field as we desperately strove to score in that ill-fated  Champions League Semi-Final against Chelsea. His presence may well have yielded the goal we needed but, alas, we will never know.

Fortunately, David Villa made a full recovery from his serious injury and returned to competitive action as a second half substitute in Barcelona's first La Liga game of the season against Real Sociedad. I am sure that all Barcelona supporters shared my delight as he marked his return with a goal. As the season progressed, David Villa has continued to score regularly with his most important goal being a late winner away to Sevilla, again as a second half substitute. As I celebrated that goal, I thought and hoped that the M-V-P strikeforce could well be back this season.

It hasn't quite worked out that way. Despite scoring these goals, David Villa has struggled to get a lot of playing time since his return. Initially, this could be justified on medical grounds as it is important to be careful with a player returning from a long term injury. However, it now seems that there could well  be more to it than that. In the game against Granada, David Villa and Messi had what appeared to be an argument on the field when Messi demanded that Villa pass him the ball quicker. This led to rumours of a rift between Villa and Messi. Naturally, both players and the club have denied there is any such rift but who can be certain. The only two games Villa has started since that game are the two games that Messi did not start. Make of that what you like. This is despite both Pedro and Alexis struggling to score when they have played, at least until Pedro's double against Espanyol. Watching the game against Valladolid, I thought on several occasions that Villa would have probably scored two or three goals from the chances that Alexis and Pedro did not.

Naturally, the media have revelled in the story of a possible rift. One example is Crackovia which is an excellent Catalan satirical program about FC Barcelona. I watch it every week via Crackovia's Facebook page. With my improving Spanish and having picked up a tiny bit of Catalan, the Catalan sub-titles enable me to usually (but not always) grasp the jist of most of the skits. Crackovia has made good use of the possible rift in its programs. I have included a Youtube version of the hilarious "Don Messino" skit (fortunately with English sub-titles) to illustrate this point.

All this has led to plenty of speculation about David Villa leaving Barcelona possibly as early as the January transfer window. High profile clubs such as  Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Juventus have all been linked with him. At this stage, it appears that the clubs only seem to want to sign Villa on loan until the end of the season. Reports indicate that Barcelona have decided that Villa will not be loaned but the word is that they may be prepared to sell if a sufficiently high offer is received.

David Villa apparently wants to stay at least until the end of the season. Judging by the ovation he received from the Camp Nou faithful when he went on as a substitute against Espanyol, Barcelona supporters certainly dont want him to leave. I hope and think he will stay until the end of the season. If  he does, he could well score some more vital goals for us like his late winner against Sevilla. Hopefully, Villa can play his part in Barcelona winning another treble this season. That would be absolutely fantastic.

Whatever happens, given his age (31) and the fact there would only be one more year left on his contract, the most likely scenario would be for David Villa to then be sold at the end of this season. He would leave as a player that would always be remembered fondly by Barcelona supporters.