David Villa to play in the A-League
Melbourne City have pulled off a coup, securing Spanish striker David Villa for a 10-game guest stint at the start of the 2014-15 A-League season.
City, who changed from their previous name of Melbourne Heart on Thursday morning, confirmed that Villa, 32, will be at the club between October and December before the start of the 2015 MLS season in the United States.
Ferran Soriano, CEO of the City Football Group, said: "We are very proud to have David Villa as part of the City family and are thrilled to announce he will play for Melbourne City FC in the Hyundai A-League this season. The sports fans of Melbourne can look forward to seeing one of the best players in world football representing their city when David brings his rare talents to AAMI Park later this year."
In line with A-League rules, the former Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia star will join Melbourne City on loan from their sister club -- and Villa's new club -- New York City FC. The Spanish maestro will be allowed to play maximum of 10 games as a "guest" with all wages paid outside of the club's salary cap.
"It's very good for me in every sense," Villa said in a statement released by Melbourne City on Thursday. "From a football point of view it's the opportunity to play in a new league in a different country, and of course it will be ideal for me to get some competitive football in the period before the MLS season gets under way.
"What I've always done throughout my career is do the best I possibly can. I'll be giving everything for the team, just like I have with every club I've played for."
Villa has scored 56 goals in 94 matches since making his first appearance for Spain in 2005.
Melbourne City's head coach John van't Schip said Villa was still "at the peak of his game."
"He is playing in his third World Cup in Brazil, has just won the Spanish league and is an instinctive and gifted striker who will contribute significantly to Melbourne City FC," van't Schip said. "We are confident David will be an incredible asset to the playing group and his experiences in Europe and for his country will help our players not only on the pitch, but in training as well."
This news marks a landmark day for the Manchester City-owned club, who, along with signing Villa and the changing of the club's name, have also introduced a new crest and home and away kits.
Reports earlier this week have also linked former Fulham and Chelsea midfielder Damien Duff to the club.