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The rain in South Africa is coming primarily from Spian

06.30.10 at 2:57 pm ET
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Spain's David Villa has been the best player in South Africa and currently is tied atop scoring lead.

We all knew about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Didier Drogba entering the 2010 World Cup  - the super stars of the world that were to make South Africa their own. All except Messi were disappointing for one reason or another.

Ronaldo had no team to help him, Drogba broke his elbow just a week and a half before the tournament and could not be effective enough when he played, and Rooney was played out of positional on a completely dysfunctional team and never showed up.

One player that was virtually forgotten or unheard of by the common fan because of both the domestic club (Valencia) that he played on entering the World Cup and country (Spain) that he is from was David Villa.

Upstaged on Spain by the likes of all the superstars from Barcelona (Xavi, Iniesta, Pique, Puyol, Busquets) and Real Madrid (Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso, Iker Casillas), and even a couple of players from the English Premier League (Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal) including his own partner up top in Fernando Torres (Liverpool) – all Villa has done throughout his career is score goals.

In La Liga, Villa has become the top poacher scoring 203 goals in 383 appearances dating back to the 1999/00 season. For Spain, Villa has 62 caps (international appearances) and incredibly has 42 goals for the Red Fury – most players are considered gods if they score a goal every three games – Villa has essentially doubled that feat scoring two goals every three appearances.

He was the leading goal scorer at Euro 2008 with four strikes as Espania took home the championship as Kings of Europe – just the second time in the country’s history it had won a major international tournament.

Now Villa is once again tied atop the scoring lead with four goals in the 2010 World Cup with Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain and Slovakia’s Robert Vittek. Villa realistically has a great chance to win the golden boot (top goalscorer of the World Cup) as Spain are into the quarterfinals against Paraguay a team they should likely beat to move on to the semis, while Slovakia is out of the tournament having lost to the Netherlands and Argentina have a very difficult match with Germany – a team that knocked them out of the last World Cup.

But more so than just putting goals into the back of the net, Villa has been one of the real showmen of South Africa with several moments of individual brilliance that have produced some of the most spectacular goals thus far.

His first goal of the tournament came as he beat two Honduran defenders at the top of the box, accelerated into the box, cut back on a third defender, slipped, then finished with a sliding shot upper-90. His second also occurred in that match, and got a little help as it deflected off a Honduran defender and in.

The third goal was also a magnificent effort as a ball had been played into Fernando Torres on the break, but Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo came flying out off his line well out of the box to knock the ball away. However, the ball only went as far as Villa, who from 45-plus yards out hit the ball one-time left-footed (he’s a righty by the way) curling it up over the keeper and another defender in an amazing show of skill. Spain would go on to win 2-1, and remarkably it was Villa’s only non-game-winner of the tournament.

Finally, Villa knocked off dangerous foe and Iberian Peninsula rival Portugal in Spain’s opening game of the knockout phase in the last game of the round of 16. It was one of Espania’s typical brilliant fluid moments as Iniesta knocked the ball to Llorente, who flicked on for Villa (possibly off-sides). Although Villa’s first shot was blocked by in my opinion the best goalkeeper of the tournament in Eduardo, Villa followed up and used every bit of the goal knocking it off the crossbar and in. It was Villa’s second game-winner of the tournament and the first goal the Portuguese had given up all tournament.

Look for more El Matador celebrations in the World Cup, and in case you were wondering where Villa will be lacing it up in the 2010/11 season – well the little man finally made a move to one of the World’s best clubs, Barcelona, where he will play alongside Spanish teammates Xavi and Iniesta as well as Messi.