David Villa: Veteran striker named in Spain squad for first time in three years

David Villa (left)
Former Barcelona striker David Villa (left) has been playing for New York City since 2014

Veteran striker David Villa has been recalled by Spain for the first time in three years.

The 35-year-old, who plays for MLS side New York City FC, had retired from international football after Spain's exit in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup.

Villa replaces Chelsea's Diego Costa for the World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Liechtenstein.

"He gives us mobility and is eager," said Spain coach Julen Lopetegui.

Villa is Spain's all-time top scorer, with 59 goals in 97 appearances for La Roja.

Prior to his call-up, Villa said: "I am always dreaming about the national team but it is difficult.

"Three years ago they didn't call me so it looks like it's difficult. But, you know, I always dream with putting on again the jersey of the national team and this has not changed in my mind."

Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso misses out but Blues team-mates Alvaro Morata, Cesar Azpilicueta and Pedro are included in the 26-man squad.

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea and Manchester City midfielder David Silva are also selected.

Silva and Villa
Man City's David Silva tweeted a picture of Villa and himself in Spain colours following the squad announcement