Football: Villa to be available for Australia season-opener

Football: Villa to be available for Australia season-opener
This file picture dated November 30, 2008 shows Valencia's David Villa celebrating his goal during a Spanish league football match at Mestalla Stadium in Valencia.

MELBOURNE - Former Spain forward David Villa will arrive in Australia next week and be available to play for Melbourne City's season-opener in the top-flight, the A-League club said on Tuesday.

The newly-minted New York City striker will play a three-month stint with the Manchester City-owned Melbourne before linking with former England midfielder Frank Lampard and his US-based team mates for the Major League Football season.

"The overall goal is to help the team perform well while I am there, support the Melbourne City FC team, build relationships, enjoy the style of football the league has to offer and, obviously, I want to do my job well and help Melbourne City to win as many games as possible," Villa said on the club's website (www.melbournecityfc.com.au).

"From what I have heard, my arrival has generated a lot of high expectations for the club and I hope that I can meet them - and that I can help the players, the coach and the entire team to perform well this season. "Hopefully, I'll be able to play at my best level in order to help the team."

Melbourne City played as Melbourne Heart in the A-League until a name-change in the off-season brought the team in line with Manchester City and sister club New York City.

They finished bottom of the 10-team table last season, their fourth in the competition, after sacking coach John Aloisi.

Villa, Spain's most prolific goal-scorer, will be present at the launch ceremony of the A-League next Tuesday and go straight into training with his Melbourne team mates, who include former Ireland stalwart Damien Duff.

Villa's presence adds a dash of star quality to the rough-hewn Australian league following the departure of Italy great Alessandro del Piero after two seasons at Sydney FC.

The A-League kicks off Oct. 10, with City playing their first match away against Sydney FC.

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