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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

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Villa vows not to let uncertainty affect Spain

Spanish star striker David Villa has vowed not to let the mounting speculation surrounding his club future affect his bid to help the European Champions win the Confederations Cup.

Villa has rarely been out of the news during the last fortnight with financially-hit Valencia seemingly set to cash in on their prize asset.

Real Madrid and Barcelona were two of the clubs heavily linked with the 27-year-old and a move away from the Mestalla looked a certainty, but Los Che then made the surprise announcement on Friday that Villa was not for sale, save for the possibility of a huge offer being made.

Villa admits things have been tough for him recently but he insists he is still focused on doing his best for Spain, who on Saturday he helped beat hosts South Africa 2-0 with his third goal in successive matches at the 2009 Confederations Cup.

"Last week was not easy at all. I admit that it's been bad for me. I wouldn't wish all this on anybody but, with the advice of my family, I've erased it all from my mind," he said.

"Also I've tried to have respect for the national team and my team-mates. I don't want them to see what I'm going through,

"Away from the pitch there are times when I'm worse. Nevertheless, when I go out on the pitch I try to show what I can do.

"On the pitch is where I feel better and I'm proud to be part of this national team, not only for the great team that it is but also for the great human quality."

Despite all the media reports back in Europe about his future, Villa has still been doing what he does best down in South Africa - scoring goals.

Having moved into second place in Spain's all-time record list with his goals in the matches against New Zealand and Iraq, Villa made it 31 in just 47 appearances for his country after netting the opener against South Africa yesterday.

Villa could have broken the deadlock in the 51st minute but saw his penalty saved by South Africa goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune diving to his left.

Villa needed just 60 seconds to make amends though, superbly chesting down a chipped pass from Albert Riera and guiding a left-footed volley just inside the far post for a goal that moves him to within 13 strikes of Raul's national record.

"For a striker it's always good to score goals. With the penalty I was convinced the goalkeeper would go the other way, but I was deceived," he said.

"Although I still managed to score afterwards, I would have preferred to convert the penalty. I hope to score the next."

Regarding questions about his future, Villa said in AS: "My present is here and I'm going to show that I won't be affected whatever happens. But I'm realistic and until this is over I know that it's impossible to know my future. For now I'm going to continue enjoying being with the national team and these good times."

Spain, who had already qualified for the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup prior to yesterday's game, claimed a world-record 15th successive win with their triumph over South Africa while they also equalled the record of 35 games unbeaten, set by Brazil in the mid-1990s.

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