Beating out New York Red Bulls rivals Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan, the 35 year old Villa enjoyed his second outstanding in MLS, leading New York City to its first post-season appearance. His 23 goals were one behind MLS Golden Boot winner Wright-Phillips, and Villa has completed his first two years in New York with 41 goals.
“Today is one of the biggest days of my career,” said Villa, a former World Cup winner, when accepting his award. “Two years and a half ago when I decided to come here some people thought maybe I had come here to find a home and retire. I tried every day to show to the people with my body that I come here to be strong and competitive — to show that I want to grow my career and to follow through, to make history.”
Despite a strong first season in New York in 2015, Villa was unable to lead New York City to its lofty goal of playoff qualification. This past season, Villa was surrounded with more talent with veterans Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo alleviating some of the burden on Villa, while younger Jack Harrison grew into his role and meshed well with his veteran counterpart.
Villa was also in a key cog in the offense of New York City’s first year head coach, Patrick Vieira, who noted the importance of the award to Villa and the team.
“I’m really pleased for him and for the football club — it’s a massive trophy in this country,” Vieira told NYCFC.com. “To be voted MVP is a fantastic achievement and nobody deserves it more than David. I’ve been working with him every day and every day I see that same love and passion for the game.”
While Villa has had a positive impact on New York City FC and MLS, his impact here in the U.S. and across the international football world has not been forgotten. Many former teammates and rivals took to Twitter to salute the new MVP.
— Raúl González Blanco (@RaulGonzalez) December 6, 2016
Congratulation my friend!! You are a legend!! https://t.co/WWL4jvinp8
— Iker Casillas (@IkerCasillas) December 6, 2016
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 6, 2016
— LaLiga (@LaLiga) December 6, 2016
— Dax McCarty (@DaxMcCarty11) December 6, 2016