Pep Guardiola offered congratulations to David Villa after Spain’s record goalscorer earned a surprise recall to the international stage.
Villa, who starred for Barcelona as Guardiola led them to LaLiga and Champions League glory in 2010-11, last featured for his country at the 2014 World Cup but could now add to his tally of 59 goals in 97 Spain appearances.
The 35-year-old’s prolific return of 19 strikes this season for New York City has persuaded head coach Julen Lopetegui to come calling ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Liechtenstein.
“I’m very happy for David,” Guardiola told a news conference ahead of Manchester City’s Premier League trip to Bournemouth.
“I know it’s not easy to leave Europe and go to play in another league like the MLS.
“I am happy with his return. I know he is doing great performances in America.”
Muy emocionado. Gracias a los que confían en mí para ponerme de nuevo esta camiseta. https://t.co/pBnqEFIejl
— David Villa (@Guaje7Villa) August 25, 2017
As one veteran makes a celebrated return, Spain’s next generation could owe something to City, with playmaker Brahim Diaz earning a maiden call-up to the country’s Under-21 squad alongside right-back Pablo Maffeo.
Brahim has represented Spain at Under-17 and Under-19 level and impressed on City’s pre-season tour of America with goals against Real Madrid and Tottenham, winning a spot in Guardiola’s first-team squad.
Like Brahim, Maffeo made his City debut in the EFL Cup last season and is now on loan with LaLiga newcomers Girona.
“I’m happy for both of them,” Guardiola added.
“It is really good for them to be in the U21 team and it is good for Manchester City.”
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