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Exclusive: Altidore Speaks About Future With Villarreal, Olympiakos

Jozy Altidore is unperturbed about where his club future lies, as long as he's getting minutes. The 19-year-old spent a horrid half-season on loan with Xerez leading up to the Confederations Cup, and didn't feel he was sharp for the United States national team.

One possibility is a return to Villarreal, the La Liga club that owns the powerful young striker. However, Altidore is worried that may not be the best option for his career this year.

“I've learned a lot the past year in Spain, and I think I can go back to Villareal and get some time there,” the New Jersey native told “I want to play for Villarreal, of course. It's the club that bought me. But with the world Cup coming up, I just can't afford to not get minutes. If I have the opportunity to gain some ground quickly, that's what I'm interested in. That's what I'm looking for right now.”

With that in mind, Altidore is keen to avoid another disaster like the Xerez deal. The idea was that the young striker would go out on loan to Spain's second division and gain valuable playing time. Instead, Altidore largely sat the bench as Xerez made a push for promotion, unwilling to gamble on the American.

“Xerez wasn't a good situation, top to bottom,” Altidore admitted. “I didn't really know a lot going into it and that's an experience an my mistake as well. It wasn't well organized. I stepped into something I wasn't familiar with. It's a lesson learned. I've got to put it behind me now and move on.”

Where he moves on to has yet to be seen. Last week, reports in Greece broke that Olympiakos had acquired the former New York Red Bull on loan, but that proved premature. Though the Greek side is looking at Altidore, he says so are a number of clubs.

“Olympiakos could be one,” he revealed. “Olympiakos is a big team in Greece and they play in the Champions League, so that would be great for me. There are a bunch of others. We'll see.”

Most clubs interested in Altidore now became interested after his Confederations Cup exploits. The striker led the line for an American side that reached the final before bowing out to Brazil. Altidore notched his only goal of the competition against favorites Spain in the biggest upset of the tournament.

The national team is crucial to Altidore, and he's eager to avoid being one of the U.S. stars that isn't getting enough playing time at his club.

“You can't play against Spain, Italy and even Egypt, the African champions, when you haven't been playing and expect to tear it up,” Altidore explained. “That's impossible. You have to be in a rhythm where you have a routine going. All of us need that and I think we'll do even better with that experience.”

Zac Lee Rigg,

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