• La Liga

Villa: I was heading to the Prem before Atletico called

ESPN staff
July 15, 2013
David Villa nearly moved to the Premier League © AP

David Villa has confirmed he planned to move to the Premier League before agreeing a switch to Atletico Madrid.

Villa, 31, left Barcelona after falling down the pecking order and had been strongly linked with Tottenham Hotspur before Atletico moved to secure the Spain international in a cut-price deal.

Speaking at his presentation in the Spanish capital, he said: "We had a move to the Premier League in mind but then Atleti appeared and within three days all my personal terms had been agreed.

"From a career point of view, they weren't lacking anything. They finished third and will play in the Champions League. They beat Real Madrid to win the Copa del Rey. Starting from today, the best club in the world for me is Atletico Madrid."

Villa insisted that, while his lack of playing time was the reason for his Camp Nou exit, it was not down to his international ambitions.

"I left Barca because I wasn't playing, not because the World Cup was on the horizon," he said. "I love this game and I wanted to play it."

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