The Spaniard will work with the club in improving their strategic and recruitment plans.
Indian Super League outfit Odisha FC have brought in David Villa as a global football advisor. The former FC Barcelona forward will help the Bhubaneshwar-based outfit in improving their recruitment and overall planning, as announced by them on Thursday.
“Odisha FC is glad to announce its new association with football legend David Villa, who has joined the Club’s Football Committee, and will head the global football operations of the Club,” the club statement read. “Former Odisha FC Head Coach Josep Gombau and Victor Onate are also associated with David Villa as a part of the DV7 group and have joined the Football Committee. Their role includes advising the coaching staff, improving the Indian and youth players, providing general support to the on field activities among others.”
David Villa, who was a part of Spain’s FIFA World Cup-winning team in 2010, stated that he aims to help Odisha FC thanks to working alongside some heavyweights in world football. “I will try and bring my experience (to the role),” he said.
“Obviously, I didn’t play in India but I played soccer for 20 years as a professional and before that in the academy. And in all of the projects that we (my team) are involved in, I try to give all of my experience that I have in soccer.” the former Atletico Madrid striker further added.
David Villa’s eagerness to work in India
David Villa has co-founded the DV7 Group – which is a football consultancy company. The all-time leading goalscorer for Spain further expressed, “I was very lucky to have played with great players, behind me and close to me (and I also played under some) big coaches, amazing coaches. I have played in the big tournaments of football, and I will try and help using all of that experience.”
Apparently, figures at Odisha FC had enquired about Villa’s availability as a player for the upcoming season. The Spaniard also added in this context, saying, “I took the decision a year ago to stop playing because I thought that was it was the right moment, not because I felt that I cannot play soccer anymore. I believe if I train I can play soccer for sure. As you know, life is not just about soccer I am 39 and I played for 20 years as a soccer player.”
The role of an advisor
“I think I can help more the sport of football and the world of football in my position right now than on the field. Took the right decision because I am very happy now. I miss football a little bit, but i think I can help in the position now more than the things I can do on the field,” the 39-year-old concluded.
David Villa last played for Vissel Kobe alongside Andres Iniesta in the J-League, scoring 13 goals in 28 appearances. Rohan Sharma, CEO of Odisha FC also spoke after the development and said, It’s an absolute pleasure to welcome David Villa and the DV7 group to the Odisha FC family! It’s crazy to think that when I started watching football I used to see David, on my TV. Now together we are trying to help grow football in Odisha. It’s also a pleasure to work with Victor Oñate who has years of football business experience in Spain and of course Coach Gombau who is not only a fan favourite but family to us. Together we are going to make sure Odisha FC matches our lofty expectations by finding the best players, coaches, and staff for the club.”
Statement of Intent
Club President, Raj Athwal also expressed delight and said that, “David’s arrival is a statement of intent for Odisha Football Club, the region, the supporters and, of course, the Indian Super League in general. He’s clearly bought into our vision and aspirations as a football club. He brings a wealth of experience to the club and Indian football. The way we look at it is he is going to be very important for our success moving forward.”
The difference maker
Mr. Vishal K Dev IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Sports and Youth Services, Government of Odisha also commented on the inclusion of David Villa saying, “He won the Euros and the World Cup with Spain, and La Liga and the Champions League with Barcelona, and we are hoping he will bring that formula to Odisha FC which will see Odisha FC hopefully make it to the top of the ISL table next year. We are very, very excited, delighted and confident that his arrival will make a big, big difference to Odisha FC.”