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January 30, 2017
PRO PLAYER OF THE YEAR honors NYC FC captain David Villa

David Villa scored 23 goals for NYC FC en route to MLS MVP honors.
David Villa scored 23 goals for NYC FC en route to MLS MVP honors.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
By Michael Lewis Editor

It was not stunning that David Villa was named the Major League Soccer MVP last month.

After all, he has been the heart and the soul of New York City FC since its maiden season in 2015.

So, it should not be surprising that the 34-year-old Villa was named professional player of the year Monday.

A vital member of Spain's 2010 World Cup championship side, Villa has tallied 40 goals in his two seasons with the Blues. He connected 17 times in 2015 before finding the net on 23 more occasions last season. He finished second in the Golden Boot race to Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips (24).

Of course, Villa was just more than goals and numbers to his City teammates. In many ways he bled the NYC FC sky blue colors every time he entered the field. He hardly was seen standing in the penalty area, demanding the ball to put placed at his feet. He was seen running around Yankee Stadium or any of the other 19 MLS fields battling for the ball and defenders to give his side a leg up in a match.

Im really pleased for him and for the football club its a massive trophy in this country," head coach Patrick Vieira said when Villa won MVP honors. To be voted MVP is a fantastic achievement and nobody deserves it more than David. Ive been working with him every day and every day I see that same love and passion for the game.

David is the perfect player that you want to bring from abroad because hes a humble person. He played in Europe, he won the Champions League, he won the World Cup, he won the European Championships but he came to this club with humility and love for the game. He has time for all of his teammates."

When Villa was presented with the MVP trophy by MLS commissioner Don Garber last month, he talked about what it meant to him.

"Today is one of the biggest days of my career," he said. "Two years and a half ago when I decided to come here some people thought maybe I had come here to find a home and retire. I tried every day to show to the people with my body that I come here to be strong and competitive - to show that I want to grow my career and to follow through, to make history.

"This trophy it means a lot to me because for this trophy, the community of players chose me, the coaches and the journalists choose me."

Villa won out over Wright-Phillips and Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljetan, who finished second and third, respectively.

"Its a symbol for me on why I came here. I want to say thank you to a lot of people first of all, I want to thank MLS and to the City Football Group for giving me the opportunity, to let me live this amazing dream," he added.

"Of course everyone working at NYC FC for helping me every day my teammates, the people in the locker room everyone who helps us every day. To Patrick, to all the coaching staff, to Jon Patricof and all of the people who work at the Manhattan office and at [SUNY] Purchase this trophy is for you."
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