12:00 PM UTC
Match 19
Game Details
Saudi Arabia
3:00 PM UTC
Match 18
Game Details
6:00 PM UTC
Match 20
Game Details
12:00 PM UTC Jun 21, 2018
Match 21
Game Details
3:00 PM UTC Jun 21, 2018
Match 22
Game Details
6:00 PM UTC Jun 21, 2018
Match 23
Game Details

European qualification, honours 2017-18


David Villa opens up about his switch from Barcelona to Atletico Madrid

David Villa
David Villa enjoyed a fruitful three seasons at the Nou Camp.

World Cup winner David Villa has revealed that a reduced amount of game time prompted him make the switch from Barcelona to Atletico Madrid in 2013.

The 34-year-old, who now plays for New York City FC in MLS, enjoyed a fruitful three seasons at the Nou Camp playing alongside Lionel Messi. The Spain international scored 48 goals in 119 appearances for the Blaugrana, winning a total of eight trophies in the process.

In July 2013, however, the striker left the reigning La Liga champions to join Diego Simeone's Atleti side in a €5.1 million deal.

"I had a contract at Barcelona, and they wanted me to continue, but I felt like I had lost prominence and I wanted to get it back at another club. I went because of that," Villa told beIN Sport.

"I have always said playing with Messi was fantastic. I just decided to leave because I lost my spot.

"I always tried to be a realist about where I was, where I could reach, but I lost game time and I wasn't playing because of technical decisions.

"The easy way would have to stay at Barcelona and win titles but I wanted to be on the pitch. I looked for an exit.

"People said a lot of things about other things, but it was simple, I decided to leave because I didn't want more time on the bench than on the pitch."

The move to the Vicente Calderon ended up being a good one for Villa, who helped Los Colchoneros pip Barca to the 2013-14 La Liga title.

"It was a fantastic year, because it was not easy," Villa said.

"At Atleti everything turned out well on all levels, and it's one of the best memories I will have.

"Simeone has a way of playing and he knows how to win and the way to win. He has something important, that all players follow him."


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.