After four years in the Bronx with New York City FC, the David Villa era is coming to an end.
The Major League Soccer club on Wednesday said the team’s captain will leave when his contract expires at the end of the year. The World Cup winner, however, is not retiring and is expected to announce the next step in his professional career.
Villa was the first player signed by NYCFC, inking his initial three-year contract with the expansion club on June 2, 2014, from La Liga’s Atletico Madrid. He leaves after a four-year stint with New York City that saw Villa score 80 goals in 124 MLS appearances.
“I can only say thank you, thank you to everybody,” Villa told NYCFC.com. “First, to City Football Group that gave me the opportunity to come here. To NYCFC and MLS for accepting me. To everybody at the club who helped me day-by-day.”
He continued, “Obviously, our fans. I remember the first day I showed the jersey and the supporters were there. I would have liked to give the supporters the MLS Cup, but I don’t have any doubts that in the next years the club will get it for sure.
Long a star on the international football stage, Villa made an immediate impact during NYCFC’s inaugural season in 2015. During the team’s first home match against New England Revolution, he scored NYCFC’s first-ever goal at Yankee Stadium, a 2-0 win.
Villa would follow his 18 goal performance in his first season with 23 goals in his second season. He was key to helping the team qualify for the MLS Playoffs and would go on to win league Most Valuable Player.
In 2017, he scored 24 goals across all competitions, despite playing in fewer games than the previous season, as NYCFC finished runners-up in the Supporters’ Shield race. A highlight that season was Villa scoring the team’s first-ever hat-trick in a 3-2 Hudson River Derby win over New York Red Bulls.
“David has been an incredible ambassador and captain to this club since the moment we signed him,” said Claudio Reyna, NYCFC’s Sporting Director. “His professionalism and leadership helped us through the challenges that a new team faces when they come into the league. He’s represented New York City FC tremendously both on and off the pitch and has been a real leader for this football club.”