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David Villa

'I don't know if I deserve so much love' - David Villa thrilled with Spain return

02:04 GMT+3 03/09/2017
David Villa Gianluigi Buffon Spain Italy
Julen Lopetegui's side thumped Italy in Madrid, with Isco's double proving decisive as a proud veteran returned to the international fold

David Villa spoke of his pride at returning to the international scene in Spain's 3-0 victory over Italy on Saturday.

The former Valencia and Barcelona star last took the field for his national side over three years ago at the 2014 World Cup, but came on as a late sub to win his 98th cap at the age of 35. 

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The New York City striker has been in fine form since making his move to Major League Soccer, winning the league's Most Valuable Player award last season and currently sitting atop the league's scoring charts. 

While Villa never really retired from the national team, his long absence and subsequent return brought about plenty of emotion for the striker.  

"I've always said it was difficult for me to come back, but I had not given up the dream. It makes me very happy to be here," Villa, who received a rapturous reception from the home support, said to Teledeporte .

"To all those who have trusted me to come, thank you. It was a key moment with this game for qualification.

"The feeling is very difficult to describe, I'm very happy. Thanks to everyone. I do not know if I deserve so much love.

"One hundred caps? You have to go step by step. Now it is time to rest, try to play the 99th and then we will see."

Villa also praised the man he replaced, Isco, whose magnificent individual form for club and country continued as he scored a double to break Italy's 11-year unbeaten run in qualifying

"I know Isco from the Valencia youth set-up, he was already training with the first team and knocking on the door," he said of the 25-year-old.

"He is a great guy and he is in a great moment. I'm very happy for him. We can all enjoy him because he is Spanish, thank God. We will enjoy him for the national team."