David Villa

Why Do People Hate David Villa?

David Villa is a retired Spanish professional footballer who played as a striker. He enjoyed a highly successful career, winning numerous trophies including the World Cup, European Championships, Champions League and La Liga.

However, despite his accomplishments, Villa has developed a reputation over the years as a player who divides opinion. Here we’ll explore some of the main reasons why certain fans harbor negativity towards him.

Aggressiveness and Unsporting Behavior

One of the most commonly cited reasons for disliking Villa is his aggressive style of play, which some deem unsporting. Villa has certainly been accused of questionable behavior throughout his career, such as:

  • Simulation – Going down too easily or exaggerating contact to win free kicks/penalties. This is seen by some as a form of cheating or gamesmanship.
  • Hard tackles – Making overly physical challenges which risk injuring opponents.
  • Confrontations – Getting into heated exchanges, arguments and even physical altercations with other players.

While defenders in particular may have borne the brunt of his aggressive approach, Villa has found controversy for clashing with teammates as well. Many perceive this behavior as contrary to the spirit of fair play.

Arrogant and Petulant Attitude

Another grievance that surfaces around Villa is his apparent arrogance and petulance while on the pitch. Detractors claim that he:

  • Reacts poorly to substitution/tactical decisions by managers.
  • Appears to sulk, scowl and vent frustration at teammates.
  • Gets visibly angry when passes/moves don’t come off or chances are missed.
  • Seems to have an air of entitlement around his status in the team.

Rightly or wrongly, this body language and demeanor rubs some fans the wrong way. It contrasts with perceptions around other legendary Spanish players who were regarded as more humble.

Underwhelming Spells at Barcelona & Atletico Madrid

After hugely successful stints with Valencia, the perception is that Villa failed to recreate this impact at subsequent big clubs like Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

In his 3 seasons at Barcelona, while capturing several trophies, he wasn’t the standout performer many expected. With Messi dominating attention, some feel Villa didn’t establish himself as a Nou Camp legend.

At Atletico meanwhile, injuries severely hampered his ability to contribute goals on a consistent basis. For all his experience, many fans were left wanting more from his displays. The feeling persists that he failed to deliver on expectations at two of Spain’s biggest clubs.

Role in Alleged Illicit Team Bonuses

Villa’s character also took a hit following allegations around illegal bonuses paid during Spain’s victorious 2010 World Cup campaign. An anti-corruption investigation claimed substantial sums were distributed illicitly among the playing and coaching staff.

While common in football, due process was not followed as required, given the national team’s representation of Spanish sporting and government institutions. Villa and teammates were accused of greed around the bonus payments, offending senses of ethics and principles.

Vocal Support for Catalan Independence

As a native of the Catalonia region, Villa has been vocal over the years in supporting increased autonomy and independence from Spain politically. This is a highly divisive socio-political issue that sees figures from the world of sport draw criticism at times.

For supporters of Catalan sovereignty, Villa is hailed as a cultural icon expressing the unique identity that exists in the region. But for those who wish to maintain Spanish unity, campaigns around self-determination for Catalonia are viewed in an unfavorable light.

Villa’s alignment with one side of this turbulent debate certainly shapes perceptions of him positively or negatively, depending on individual political persuasions on the matter.


In reviewing explanations around Villa’s unpopularity among certain fans, while some gripes seem well-founded, others may be somewhat excessive or reactive. No player is beyond reproach, but Villa’s decorated career suggests that a balanced perspective is warranted.

Ultimately his playing style, personality quirks and extra-curricular opinions will invariably rub some observers the wrong way. But he’ll also be warmly embraced by those whose sporting allegiances, ethical values and political views align more closely with his own. Such is the fickle nature of fame.

Frequently Asked Questions

Did David Villa have issues with teammates?

Yes, there were certainly tensions reported between Villa and some teammates over the years. High profile incidents include confrontations with Robert Pires at Valencia, disagreements with Thierry Henry at Barcelona, and reports of a fractious relationship with Diego Costa at Atletico Madrid. There were occasional visible frustrations towards teammates during matches too.

What trophies did Villa win in his club career?

At club level Villa won major trophies including the Champions League (2011), UEFA Super Cup (2011, 2015), Club World Cup (2011), La Liga title (2013), Copa del Rey (2009), Spanish Super Cup (2013), and a European Supercup (2012). He enjoyed great success across spells at Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in Spain.

How does Villa’s international scoring record compare?

For Spain’s national team, Villa is considered an all-time legend. He scored 59 goals in 98 appearances between 2005 to 2014, making him Spain’s highest ever goalscorer. He played a pivotal role in tournament victories at Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012 during Spain’s dominant era.

Was Villa ever embroiled in serious controversy?

Beyond accusations around illegal World Cup bonuses in 2010, Villa has avoided major personal scandals and controversy off the pitch during his high profile playing career. While sometimes vocal on issues like Catalan independence or player welfare, he has managed to steer clear of seriously damaging repercussions professionally or legally.

What is Villa’s status currently after retirement?

Villa retired while playing for Vissel Kobe in Japan in 2019. Since 2020 he has been a co-owner of Queensboro FC, a new franchise in the USL Championship division, as he pursues business interests in the game. Villa also does occasional TV punditry work internationally when time allows. He continues to engage in charitable endeavours through his foundation work.

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