By Jose Mena
Barcelona faced Al Saad in the Club World Cup semifinals on December 15th 2011. The match was mostly unremarkable as the Spanish team made it to the final but the players and Guardiola left the stadium rather sad than happy; the reason, David Villa’s broken shinbone.
Eight months later, the Asturian striker is back. He played his “first” game in La Liga’s first matchday, against Real Sociedad, an easy win for Villanova’s boys. He came in for Pedro when the game had 15 minutes to go, and he scored a beautiful left shot just 10 minutes later. The Camp Nou exploded with joy; first season win, great performance by the team and the best of all, Villa’s comeback.
Then came La Roja. The Spanish team faced Saudi Arabia in a friendly game prior to the 2014 world cup qualifiers. An easy rival for Euro Champions, yes, but again the important thing was that Spain’s all-time top scorer was back. His last game with the men’s national team had been in November 2011 in a friendly against Costa Rica. This time he came in for Torres, and again the crowd welcomed him back. Soon later, he transformed a p.k. into a goal.
Villa is pleased to be back and happy with his impact but admitted there is still a long way to go to earn a starting role.
"There's no need to look back now and I can look forward to enjoying myself again. Little by little I'm going to continue improving, I'm getting better physically," he said after the Spain match. "I've spent a lot of time training, the body is adapting but getting a starting spot is down to the coach."
Yes, it is fair to say that both games were pretty easy, for Barcelona and for Spain (5-1 and 5-0), but the positive outcome is the striker´s return. Those minutes he played, and especially those goals he scored will give Barca’s number 7 the confidence that is so hard to gain after such long injuries.
“El Guaje” is back, and he’s made it clear that with more desire than ever. This can only mean one thing, goals and more goals. Barcelona and Spain should be very happy about it, because with Villa up front they sure are contenders to win it all.
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