- David Villa will retire at end of J1 League season
- One of Spain's South Africa 2010 heroes
- Villa: "Thank you for all the love"
FIFA World Cup winner David Villa has announced he will hang up his boots at the end of Japan’s J1 League season.
Spain’s all-time leading scorer, Villa - who is currently at Vissel Kobe - scored 59 goals 98 games for La Roja. He is also Spain’s top World Cup marksman.
"After 19 years as a professional, I have decided to retire from playing football at the end of this season,” the former Valencia and Barcelona star said on social media. "Thank you to all the teams, coaches and team-mates that have allowed me to enjoy this dream career.
"Thank you to my family, that has always been there to support me through good and hard times. It is my objective to put the cherry on top by winning the Emperor's Cup with Vissel Kobe on January 1st.
"From then on, I will continue to enjoy football through all the projects that we're currently developing with DV7 group. Thank you for all the love."
Villa played an integral role as Spain lifted their maiden world title in 2010. He collected the adidas Silver Boot after netting five goals and was also awarded the adidas Bronze Ball and named in the team of the tournament.
A year after South Africa, the striker was once again a world champion – this time with Barcelona, who overcame Santos to win the FIFA Club World Cup.
Villa will end his 19-year playing career in Japan, the scene of that Club World Cup triumph, after a career with Sporting Gijon, Real Zaragoza, Valencia, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Melbourne City, New York City and Vissel Kobe
The latter will contest the Emperor's Cup semi-final on 21 December, with a potential final on January 1, where Villa could add to his vast medal collection.