David Villa will leave New York City Football Club at the end of the year.
He was the club's first ever player and only captain, making 124 MLS appearances and scoring 80 goals.
Reports from New York say the Spanish World Cup winner will go to Japan or China for one final season though the player himself says he will make an announcement this week. He has also been linked with a return to Spain
Villa told NYCFC.com: “I can only say thank you, thank you to everybody. First, to City Football Group that gave me the opportunity to come here. To NYCFC and MLS for accepting me. To everybody at the Club who helped me day-by-day.
“Thank you to the people in the offices, the people working with the team and the coaches and staff. Thank you to my teammates - without them it would have been impossible to be successful. Thank you to the people working in the media that always gave me the respect and the love.
“Obviously, our fans. I remember the first day I showed the jersey and the supporters were there. I would have liked to give the supporters the MLS Cup, but I don’t have any doubts that in the next years the Club will get it for sure.
“My experience here was amazing. It gave me everything as a soccer player, as a person, and as a family man. I’ll always remember this experience with love. My heart is here and I’m an NYCFC supporter forever.”
Villa was announced as New York City FC’s first-ever signing on June 2, 2014, joining from Atletico Madrid. Already Spain’s leading goal scorer, a World Cup winner and a European champion, Villa joined NYCFC with the reputation as one of this generation’s most devastating strikers, yet he arrived like a man with a point to prove.
Vice Chairman of New York City FC Marty Edelman said: “David Villa encompasses the values that we have here at New York City FC. The impact he has had on not only this club, but in this City, cannot be measured in just goals or assists.
“We thank David for helping us build NYCFC and wish him the very best moving forward. It’s been a memorable and historic first four seasons with David at the helm. We are proud of the milestones we’ve reached together which have set the foundation for the club which will continue to grow for years to come.”
Sporting director Claudio Reyna said: “David has been an incredible ambassador and Captain to this Club since the moment we signed him. His professionalism and leadership helped us through the challenges that a new team faces when they come into the league. He’s represented New York City FC tremendously both on and off the pitch and has been a real leader for this football club."