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11.06.2010 10:55

Villa’s rise to fame

Marc Guillén

David Villa maybe seen as one of the best striker's in the world now, but he was not singled out for greatness at his first club.

"You could see small things in the way he played and he was effective in the area, but he was not someone who looked set to become a star," Langreo's president, Alfonso Cienfuegos, stated.

That may have been the view from other people, but Villa's first coach, Jorge Manuel Rodríguez Gutiérrez, has revealed that the player was confident. "He knew that he would make it and was very demanding of himself," he explained. "He never missed training and became more and more determined to make it."

Oviedo trials

Foto_Villa_3.jpgBefore joining Unión Popular de Langreo, Villa scored his first goals in five-a-side matches on a strip of concrete next to the Mesón Cortina Restaurant. Aged nine he was given trials by Oviedo, but they chose not to sign him due to his lack of strength and height at the time. Instead, Villa learnt his trade with Unión Popular during the next eight years.

Fatherly devotion

"Without any doubt the fact that I am a football player is 70 per cent down to my father," Villa has stated. "He was always by my side." Villa's dad ferried the youngster to and from training and accompanied him to every match.

Rising up

Foto_Villa_4.jpgVilla has been a striker in every team that he has played for apart from one brief move when he was young. "He was still small and the coach did not play him all the time because he said that he had other players that did the same job," Cienfuegos explained. "Then his father came and asked if his son could leave in order to move to a side where he would play more often. I met him and we convinced him that it was better that he stayed. From that day Villa began to shine at every level and rose through the ranks."

Sporting springboard

Aged 17 Villa was spotted by Sporting de Gijón and joined the club's youth ranks. Almansa was his coach in the first year and when the trainer took over the first team he promoted Villa. That confidence saw the striker raise his game even higher and he began to score goals at the highest levels. A goal still fondly remembered by fans at the club was the winner in the local derby against Oviedo.
Villa’s rise to fame

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What dose Guaje mean?
David Villa's nickname, El Guaje, come from a word used in Asturias meaning small boy, lad or kid. The striker has always been shorter than many of his team-mates and was given the affectionate moniker early on.

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