By, Kyle Gibson
With David Villa and Frank Lampard all but certain to join New York City FC for its first season, Major League Soccer continues to add global stars on the world stage.
What started with David Beckham continues now through Lampard, a Chelsea and England legend, and Villa, who has shone for Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, as well as the Spanish national team.
I know many players join the league perhaps past their prime and at very advanced ages, but the amount of names in the MLS has been impressive in recent years.
Here’s a list of guys off the top of my head that have been stars in their country or the world stage and have come to ply their trade in MLS.
Freddie ljungberg, Guillermo Barros Schelloto, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill, Robbie Keane, Julio Cesar, Jermaine Defoe, Alessandro Nesta, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Federico Higuain, Clint Dempsey Michael Bradley and more.
These are big name guys, or in the case of Higuain and Wright-Phillips, the brothers of big name guys that have found success in the US.
Now add Lampard, with more than 400 Chelsea appearances and more than 100 England caps, to that list. A three time Chelsea player of the year, Lampard set the EPL record with 164 consecutive games. He’s a gamer and is fully dedicated to the cause.
Though his form has slacked since his transfer to Barcelona, David Villa has largely been a goal machine in Spain. Villa has scored 154 league goals since his 2005 move to Valencia and has an astounding 56 goals in 94 Spain appearances. Villa returned to highly relevant soccer this year with Athletico Madrid, winning La Liga, playing in the Champions League final and scoring 13 league goals. He is on the Spanish roster for the World Cup, but it remains to be seen whether Spain will actually start a striker. Scoring a boatload of goals in New York could help his national team form.
I understand that Lampard is 35 and Villa is 32, but it will be very fun watching these two play on the same squad. It is true that the MLS will one day have to add world stars at a younger age to become a world class league, but let’s enjoy the legends playing in America however we can get them.