He had not really retired from international football, he had not announced any decision not to play for the national team again, but after not getting called up in three years, and having reached the age of 35, playing for Spain again looked rather improbable.
It happened, because Julen Lopetegui felt David Villa’s form with New York City FC deserved to be recognized.
I’ve always said it was difficult for me to come back, but I had not given up the dream. It makes me very happy to be here
the former Valencia and Barcelona striker told Teledeporte, after having come on as a substitute to earn his 98th cap with Spain.
To all those who have trusted me to come, thank you. It was a key moment with this game for qualification. The feeling is very difficult to describe, I’m very happy. Thanks to everyone. I do not know if I deserve so much love
Villa said, having received a standing ovation by a packed Santiago Bernabeu when he substituted Isco in the second half of their 3-0 triumph over Italy.
As for reaching the… special number 100, the 35-year-old pointed out the obvious, that there is a 99th cap to be earned first.
One hundred caps? You have to go step by step. Now it is time to rest, try to play the 99th and then we will see