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Jun 1, 2014

David Villa confirms 'new challenge'

FC's Shaka Hislop says David Villa's age will not affect his play if he makes the move to NYCFC.

Spain forward David Villa confirmed he is leaving Atletico Madrid for "an offer that couldn't be refused" and is expected to sign for fledgling MLS club New York City FC.

- Atletico 'don't need to sell' stars
- Transfer talk: Lampard to NY?
- City and Yankees combine to set up NYCFC

Multiple media reports say both Villa and Frank Lampard underwent medicals at Manchester City ahead of a move to NYCFC, which is set to take part in the MLS from 2015.

Lampard appears set to leave Chelsea after the Premier League club included him on the list of players to be released this summer.

Villa did not confirm that he would be moving to the U.S. but told Atletico fans on the club's website on Sunday that he will be joining "an irresistible project for me and my family." He added: "It is very, very good. It is about football and I have to accept it."

He also thanked Atletico fans and the club for the support, adding that Atletico did not pressure him to leave and said he had the backing of both the club's front office as well as coach Diego Simeone.

"I will be part of Atletico all my life for what they have given me this year," he said.

A source told ESPN FC last week that Villa is set to sign a three-year deal, though both the club and MLS have denied that an agreement has been completed.

Last week, a club spokesperson stated via text message: "The club has no agreement with any player." An MLS spokesperson echoed that statement.

However, the transfer now appears to be in place and the Villa deal would mark the New York club's first signing since bring officially announced as an expansion team last year, and would constitute a considerable coup for the team. Villa is coming off a La Liga title-winning season with Atletico Madrid, where he scored 13 goals in 36 appearances, 32 of them starts. He has also had successful spells with Sporting Gijon, Real Zaragoza, Valencia, and Barcelona.

He has scored 56 goals in 94 appearances for Spain, and was part of the teams that won both Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup, and has been included in Vicente del Bosque's final 23-man squad for this summer's World Cup in Brazil.

With NYCFC not slated to begin play until March of 2015, there is a question of what Villa would do until the season begins. During an interview earlier this month, NYCFC director of soccer operations Claudio Reyna indicated that a combinations of loans and short-term contracts would be used to keep the team's players sharp ahead of the club's debut season.

ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle contributed to this report.

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