Villa backing Nolito for Spain

David Villa is backing Nolito “to have the same fate as me” for Spain after the Celta Vigo star’s goalscoring exploits in pre-tournament friendlies.

Nolito scored braces in friendlies against Bosnia-Herzegovina and South Korea to stake his claim as best he could for a start in Spain’s Euro 2016 opener against Czech Republic, prompting praise from his former Barcelona teammate and the legendary Roja attacker.

“Hopefully Nolito has the same fate as me when he plays for the national team,” he said at the opening of his football academy in Valencia on Saturday.

“He’s performed very well for the national team. I’ve heard and read that goals were demanded, and Nolito has given them in his last two games. I know Nolito from my time at Barca and wish him well.

“We’re one of the favourites. We’re the reigning champions. Regardless of whether we’re the favourites or not, that does count for anything because all the teams have the same number of points at the beginning. But if there is a favourite then it’s Spain.

“If you told me that I’d play 97 games, would have signed it in blood? You know how I felt when I wore that shirt. I’m very proud.”

Tags David Villa Euro 2016 Nolito Spain