Cesc Fabregas last night called upon Arsene Wenger to join the race for David Villa after watching his Spanish team-mate score the first hat-trick of Euro 2008. The 26-year-old striker has been put up for sale by Valencia after the club's turbulent season and has expressed an interest in moving to Arsenal. Wenger is yet to reciprocate but was present at the Stadion Neu Tivoli in Innsbruck on Tuesday night when Villa scored his treble against Russia.
Fabregas, who came on as a second-half substitute and scored himself, said, "David would be amazing in the English league. He can do as well in England as Fernando Torres has. I would love to have him in my team at Arsenal.
"He is an amazing player, one who can make the difference. He has mobility, he scores goals and is brave. He can play well on the shoulder of defenders getting in behind, or just in front of them when the ball is played to his feet."
Villa played both roles against Russia, scoring twice when dropping off Torres, then once, and creating one, when leading the line after Fabregas replaced Torres.
Villa made his La Liga debut as a teenager, for local club Sporting Gijon, moving to Real Zaragoza then, for £8.2m in 2005, Valencia. He has scored everywhere totalling 141 goals in 280 league appearances, and 17 goals in 32 internationals.
Chelsea, Spurs and Real Madrid are among the clubs linked with Villa but earlier this year the player said,: "I watch the Premier League a lot and the team I'm most attracted to is Arsenal. Their brilliant one and two-touch football, and the whole style of rapid counter-attack which dominates the top level of the Premier League now, is the one which suits my game best of all.
"I think I'm made to succeed in England and I'm hungry to test myself there but of course it's one thing saying it and quite another getting there and then doing it."
Villa's treble overshadowed Fabregas scoring but the midfielder admitted he was relieved to have scored. "It meant a lot. It was my first in 27 games so I was due one." The Arsenal midfielder is still likely to start on the bench against Sweden on Saturday but he insisted, "It is about the squad. Every player would always like to start the game, but whatever the boss says goes. I will be there whenever he wants me.
"There are not just 11 players out there. It is about all of us. You could see that with me, Xavi Alonso and Santi Cazorla all coming on we could make a difference and that is the same for all of us.
"When I joined up I was tired because I had been injured for a month at the end of the season. Having played 50 games for Arsenal and then having a month break, then having to play in this big competition, it took me a while to get back up to speed, but now I feel fit again."
Spain's demolition of Russia confirmed their billing as serious contenders but Fabregas cautioned, "This is just one game. We started like this in the last World Cup with a 4-0 win over the Ukraine so we do not want to get too excited.
"Yes, it is great for our confidence. This was the perfect start, but we have to make sure we learn from our mistakes in the last World Cup when everybody though we were going to win the tournament after we beat Ukraine. We just can't afford to get too excited and must keep our feet on the floor.
"We have to make sure we go game-by-game and take things from there. The expectation we have on our shoulders from Spain makes things difficult. Spain is a country where everything is either perfect or we are very bad and we need to create a balance. This is just one game, it was a great performance but with only three points you go nowhere."
The only moment of dissent appeared to be Torres' disquiet at being substituted for the third match in succession. The Liverpool striker has scored just once for Spain since 2006 but Gerard Houllier, watching in his capacity as a member of Uefa's technical committee, echoed Villa's praise of his performance.
"He was outstanding, and so was David Villa," said Houllier, now technical director of the French Football Federation. "Their partnership is very interesting. The way they work together. The diagonal runs they make are very clever, very exciting."
The former Liverpool manager added: "'Torres is a wonderful player and he has had an excellent first season at Liverpool. I only wish I'd had the money to buy someone like him when I was in charge there."
Over exuberant celebrations
Yesterday David Villa trained with a bandaged finger, having injured it while celebrating his first goal with Fernando Torres on Tuesday. "I got my finger caught in Fernando's shirt when we were celebrating the goal and bent it back,” he said. Villa is not the first player to injure himself while celebrating.
Paolo Diogo: The Portuguese player, who was then 29, lost his finger in December 2004 while celebrating a goal for the Swiss club Servette. Diogo caught his wedding ring on the perimeter fencing while celebrating a late goal that put his side 4-1 ahead against Schaff-hausen. The ring ripped off the top of his finger. "When I jumped down from the fence, I didn't feel anything at all," he said at the time."The first time that I noticed that something was missing from my hand was when it started to hurt. And it hurt tremendously.” Before he noticed the injury, he was booked for excessive celebration. The missing finger was found but surgeons were unable to reattach it. "First I talked to my wife and then with our club doctor," he said. "Then finally I saw that amputation was for the best.” He took the loss well. “I'm not dead and life goes on," he said. "So I have to live with one less finger."
Steve Morrow: As the Arsenal team were on the pitch in front of the Royal Box celebrating their League Cup final victory against Sheffield Wednesday in 1993, Tony Adams lifted Morrow, who had scored the winner, with slightly too much enthusiasm and broke his arm. Morrow missed the rest of the season, including the FA Cup final victory over Wednesday.
Celestine Babayaro: The Nigerian international was well known for his exuberant goal celebrations. In 1997 he joined Chelsea, but during a pre-season game he broke his leg performing his trademark somer-sault.
Patrick Viera: The then Arsenal midfielder scored against Manchester United, slid extravagantly across the turf on his knees and suffered a quad muscle injury that put him out of the team for several weeks.
Martin Palermo: In 2001 the Argentinian, who was then with the Spanish side Villareal, scored in the Copa del Rey and ran to the crowd to celebrate. Unfortunately for him a wall collapsed, he suffered a broken leg and was out for six months.
Lomana Lualua: In 2006 the DR Congo international was playing for Portsmouth against Arsenal. Having scored, he launched into his usual celebration, which consisted of multiple back-flips. This time, though, he sustained an ankle injury that put him out for three weeks.
Other European Championship hat-tricks
10 June 2008 - David Villa, SPAIN 4 Russia 1
25 June 2000 - Patrick Kluivert, NETHERLANDS 6 Yugoslavia 1
20 June 2000 - Sergio Conceicao, PORTUGAL 3 Germany 0
15 June 1988 - Marco van Basten, NETHERLANDS 3 England 1
16 & 19 June 1984 - Michel Platini, FRANCE 5 Belgium 0 & FRANCE 3 Yugoslavia 2
14 June 1980 - Klaus Allofs, WEST GERMANY 3 Netherlands 2
17 June 1976 - Dieter Muller, WEST GERMANY 4 Yugoslavia 2 (aet)Reuse content