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New York City FC's David Villa eyeing spot in Spain's World Cup squad

David Villa was recalled by Spain coach Julen Lopetegui for two World Cup qualifiers in August.

New York City FC forward David Villa says he will be "working hard" to play in his fourth consecutive World Cup this summer.

Spain's all-time top scorer with 59 goals in 98 games, Villa is hoping to have a strong start to the Major League Soccer season in order to win a place in Julen Lopetegui's squad for the tournament in Russia.

"The only thing I can do is to give my best for New York City FC when the league starts in March," the 36-year-old Villa told EFE while attending a conference of the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) in Miami.

"We shall then see what happens. I'm sure the national team coach will look at every option available for his attack just as he will do for other positions. In the end, he will decide on who are the most suitable for the team. I will work hard. I would be delighted if it happens."

Villa's impressive form in MLS last year, where he scored 22 goals and set up five more in 31 league appearances, earned the former Valencia and Barcelona star a call-up by Lopetegui in August after a three-year absence.

But a muscular injury saw Lopetegui omit Villa from his next squad a month later.

"Injuries are always bad but especially in cases like this one," he said. "But people's reaction was truly beautiful. It was very sweet even though it ended badly with the injury."

David Villa
Villa was a finalist for the MLS Most Valuable Player award last season.

Villa was the Most Valuable Player in MLS in 2016 and was a finalist last year.

"I'm very happy in New York and I feel well to continue to play," he said. "I feel privileged."

Villa, who won Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup with La Roja, believes Spain are among the favourites to lift the Cup this summer.

Spain qualified after finishing top of Group G, five points clear of Italy, and won nine of 10 games with one draw.

Lopetegui's side will take on European champions Portugal, Morocco and Iran in Group B.

"On paper, we have one of the best national teams," Villa said. "We have the best players, a great coach, a very powerful structure and we'll be among the favorites. But five months in football is a long time and it's difficult to give an evaluation right now. My hope and my wish is that Spain does a great job."

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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