David Villa wants to put the heartache of missing Spain’s Euro 2012 triumph behind him by helping his team to World Cup qualification. The reigning World Champions are joint leaders of Group I with Tuesday’s opponents France. A win over their Gallic neighbours would surely see them on the plane to Rio, but first they must negotiate a home match against Finland, and a resurgent Villa could be their main weapon.
"I have played a few games from the start recently and the team has managed to win so I am pleased with that," said the Barcelona marksman.
"I have been looking for this consistency for a long time. What I want is to enjoy myself and finish the season well, which has had plenty of ups and downs."
The ex-Valencia man has scored nine goals so far this season, and is entering a mini purple patch – registering in two consecutive games against Milan and Rayo Vallecano. Villa is Spain’s all-time leading goalscorer, and Vincente Del Bosque is pleased to have him back in the fold.
"The change in Villa is the joy, the optimism he exudes at the moment," said the Spain coach. "Fortunately he has recovered and we have the best goal scorer in Spanish football back.
"He felt himself a bit sidelined because he wasn't playing as much but you have to take into account that he was coming back from a serious injury.”
The ex-Real Madrid boss may now have a selection headache, with Villa, Euro 2012 top scorer Fernando Torres and false nine Cesc Fabregas all vying for a place to secure the chance to defend their trophy in 2014.
International games: 86
International goals: 53
Goals per game: 0.6
International games: 101
International goals: 31
Goals per game: 0.3
International games: 76
International goals: 12
Goals per game: 0.16