David Villa hailed match-winner Isco and spoke of his pride at returning to the international scene in Spain’s 3-0 victory over Italy.
Real Madrid star Isco scored twice in the first half at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday and substitute Alvaro Morata sealed victory late on to put Julen Lopetegui’s men in a commanding position in Group G as they seek to qualify for the World Cup.
New York City striker Villa came on as a late sub to win his 98th cap at the age of 35, over three years after his previous appearance at the 2014 World Cup.
He praised the man he replaced, Isco, whose magnificent individual form for club and country continued, while expressing delight over his own return.
“I know Isco from the Valencia youth set-up, he was already training with the first team and knocking on the door,” Villa, who received a rapturous reception from the home support, said to Teledeporte.
“He is a great guy and he is in a great moment. I’m very happy for him. We can all enjoy him because he is Spanish, thank God. We will enjoy him for the national team.
“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.
“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.”
“100 caps? You have to go step by step. Now it is time to rest, try to play the 99th and then we will see.”
10 – Isco against Italy by numbers:
5 dribbles completed (6)
56 passes completed (59)
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) September 2, 2017
He added to Rai Sport: “We kept the ball well, Isco was just spectacular throughout and the result was more to Spain’s credit than Italy’s fault.
“I think it was a great performance, so everyone is very happy.
“We both want the first place, we have moved ahead and now we are dependent only on ourselves to qualify.
“We have to be realistic, we know that we are better than the other sides we’ve yet to face in the group, although we still have to prove it. In football you cannot take anything for granted, but we know that was the most difficult game.”
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