Barcelona’s Villa scores after eight months out
MADRID, Aug 20 — Barcelona forward David Villa celebrated his return from an eight-month injury layoff by coming off the bench to score in a 5-1 rout of Real Sociedad their La Liga opener yesterday.
Spain's all-time leading scorer with 51 goals, broke his left leg at the Club World Cup last December and missed the national team's Euro 2012 triumph as he continued his recovery.
He replaced Pedro in the 74th minute to a huge Nou Camp ovation, and swept a shot inside the far post, after a pullback from Andres Iniesta, to crown his return with six minutes left.
Villa, 30, peeled away to celebrate, pulling off his shirt to reveal a vest with “Impossible without you” written on it above a photo of his wife and children.
“He has suffered a lot, he has had a considerable injury and he is back,” team mate Xavi told Spanish television.
“It was a good win but the best news of all is the return of 'El Guaje' ('The Kid'), we have missed him.”
Barca were limited in their options going forward in the second half of last season with Villa injured and relied heavily on the goals of Lionel Messi.
The club decided not to strengthen the forward line in the transfer window and have focused on signing defensive reinforcements Jordi Alba and Alex Song, while waiting for Villa's return.
“I am happy with the squad we have,” new Barca coach Tito Vilanova told a news conference after his first league match since stepping up from assistant to replace Pep Guardiola.
“We hope that Villa is back to full fitness as soon as possible because we are missing his goals.
“It is always important to win the first game but perhaps the best news today is the return of Villa.
“The goal will boost his morale and give him confidence. It has removed a weight from his shoulders. It's good for the team that he is back and well.” — Reuters