(David Villa celebrating a goal in Houston on September 30th – USA Today Sports)
New York City Football Club’s David Villa has been named Major League Soccer’s 2016 Most Valuable Player.
Villa edged out a pair of Red Bulls, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan to win the prestigious Landon Donovan MVP Award for the first time.
“I’m very proud to represent NYCFC and to receive this award. It’s a big day for me because this is one of the things I said I wanted to do when I came here two years ago.
“This is an important day in my career – this is an important moment for me. This award is for the best player in this amazing league which has many quality players so this is a very happy and proud day for me.”
The NYCFC striker scored 23 regular season goals which fired his team to their first-ever Playoffs campaign in the club’s second season.
In the past two years, no one has scored more MLS goals than Villa, who bettered his debut season tally by five in 2016.
For his Head Coach Patrick Vieira, David is a deserved winner.
Ever since signing, NYCFC’s first-ever captain has been a model of consistency throughout, scoring 37% of the team’s goals in that time.
Villa delivered when the pressure was on in the final weeks of the 2016 season, as he scored six times in the last four games to seal a second place finish in the Eastern Conference for his team. It was NYCFC’s first-ever playoff spot in just their second season.
Off the field, David also showed that he’s the perfect team captain, as he earned a nomination for the 2016 MLS Work Humanitarian of the Year, thanks to his community work which included his role in the opening of 50 free mini-pitches in the Five Boroughs over the next five years.
An inspirational figure for the younger players in the locker room, David has helped the likes of Jack Harrison, Tommy McNamara and Khiry Shelton come to the fore in 2016, playing a vital role in the team’s attractive, free-scoring play in this historic season.
Spain’s record goalscorer netted 23 of NYCFC’s league-high 62 goals this year, assisting four more in his 33 appearances.
In total, the 35-year old has netted an astonishing 41 goals in 63 regular season games since the start of 2015.
In addition to winning MLS MVP, Villawas named club MVP and Offensive Player of the Year and was also the recipient of the Third Rail’s MVP and Offensive Player for 2016.