Two words: David Villa. If you know who he is, you already know what’s about to be said here. If you don’t, that means you might not follow international football, and that maybe you’re unaware that he’s coming from some of the best competition in the world to play soccer with the MLS. That’s right, he’s going to play soccer in the United States.
While Villa, a 32-year-old striker who has had a long and illustrious career in the sport already, is following in the footsteps of David Beckham, the incredibly popular soccer luminary who made the switch from in 2007, hopping from La Liga to MLS — Villa’s three year deal with New York F.C. seems less to do with bringing in a soccer superstar for the publicity than it does, actually, you know, winning games. We can’t help but wonder, though, at MLS’s developing role as, essentially, a retirement home for soccer stars. Especially with the rumors that Frank Lampard, the 35-year-old midfielder who recently left Chelsea, might be coming over as well.
It feels a little bit like the mirror image of the NBA, where players who can’t crack a rotation stateside head to China, Europe, or elsewhere in order to continue to make a living. So, with that in mind, here are six international soccer players we’d love to see playing in America, especially when they’re still able to compete at the highest level of the sport. For the record, we’d probably leave out Mario Balotelli, but we’d be willing to give his statue a pretty lucrative gig.