Once turned down as a youngster by Real Oviedo for being too small, Villa is a born goalscorer with exceptional movement and clinched a €40m (£34.2m) move to Barcelona in May.
The 28-year-old scored seven goals in as many games during the World Cup qualification campaign and was Spain’s top scorer with four at Euro 2008, although he missed the final with a hamstring injury.
He set a Spanish record by scoring 12 international goals in a calendar year during 2008, and against England in February 2009 he became the first Spain player to score in six successive matches.
Villa scored 28 goals for Valencia in 2009/10, the ninth year in a row he has managed 20 or more but his life could have turned out very differently. He broke his thigh bone at the age of four and his parents were warned that an operation could leave him crippled; they decided to let the bone heal naturally.
Villa would not stop kicking a football, even with a plaster cast on his broken right leg, so his father taught him to use his weaker left foot. As a consequence, Villa is proficient with either.
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