David Villa announces his retirement after glittering career

Former Barcelona star David Villa has confirmed his plans to retire once the current J-League season finishes.

The 37-year-old has been playing for Japanese side Vissel Kobe this year with three league matches remaining before an Emperor's Cup semi-final in late December. 

At a press conference on Wednesday, Villa revealed he will be hanging up his boots, declaring he wanted to finish his career on his own terms. 

“I’ve been thinking about this for a long time," Villa said. "This is the result of discussions I had with my family and people around me.

"I wanted to retire from football, not be forced to retire from football."

The 2010 World Cup winner is determined to end his career with one final piece of silverware, taking to social media to clarify he intends to play on in the Emperor's Cup. 

"It is my objective to put the cherry on top by winning the Emperor’s Cup with Vissel Kobe on January 1," he said on Twitter

"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's career has spanned 19 years and began in Spain with Sporting Gijon before subsequent moves to Zaragoza, Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

After spending most of his club career in his homeland, Villa then ventured to MLS side New York City in 2015, where he spent four seasons before joining Kobe earlier this year. 

The attacker has scored 12 times and contributed two assists across 26 appearances this campaign, with the club currently 10th in the J-League. 

Across his club career, Villa claimed three La Liga titles, the Copa del Rey three times and won the Champions League in 2011 with Barcelona. 

Internationally, the Spaniard represented his country 98 times winning Euro 2008 before also lifting the World Cup two years later.

Villa recently secured USL franchise rights for New York-based Queensboro FC and now looks set to put his full focus into the club. 

“I lived and played in New York for four years. I know what a special place Queens is,” Villa said. “I love the cultures, the food, the people and their passion for life and, of course, soccer.

"There is no other place like it in the world. It’s a dream to help build this football club in Queens and I couldn’t choose a better location.

"We’ve worked for many years on this. The opportunity to start a brand new team in a city like New York, in a borough like Queens, where the people are as passionate about soccer as I am, is huge!

"I'm very happy with my career. I'm very proud. I have loved this sport from the beginning of my life. I have tried to do my best to bring this sport everywhere. And the future now is Queens."