David Villa and two other La Liga stars who thrived after MLS moves

Football is a truly global game and one that appeals to fans in every corner of the world.

This is certainly true when you think about how popular the top leagues are with supporters.

While Spain’s La Liga naturally ranks highly, there are other leagues which offer thrilling excitement too.

One of these is the MLS in North America. This competition has grown in stature rapidly over the last few decades to become a prestigious name in its own right.

Much of this comes down to the large-scale investment made in the MLS.

This has seen it become much more popular domestically, with football as a sport beginning to challenge the traditional “Big Four” in the US.

The legalization of sports betting in many US states has also helped, as football is a popular sport to bet on.

By enabling people in North America to bet legally on the game, it helps more people gain exposure to the MLS.

AZ sports betting is a case in point and there are some superb online sportsbooks to bet on football with in Arizona, now that this is allowed under state law.

The presence of top football stars has also helped America’s top league flourish.

In recent times, this has seen players such as Thierry Henry, David Beckham and Wayne Rooney boost the competition’s profile.

As you would expect, the roster of big names to have graced the MLS contains some top Spanish players.

But which have been three of the best to date?

David Villa

MLS fans have long known how skilful players from Spain are and would love to attract more.

With Sergi Roberto’s contract issues at Barcelona continuing to grow, he could be one name that may make the move in future!

At present, though, iconic striker David Villa is for many the top Spanish player to have enjoyed a spell in the MLS.

Villa joined New York City in 2015 as a designated player and scored a stunning 18 goals in his first season.

This was followed by 22 goals in the next season and 23 in the one after that!

Leaving New York City at the end of 2018, Villa ended up with an MLS MVP to his name and was an MLS All-Star in each season he spent at New York.

With agility, lethal finishing, speed and guile, this little Spaniard took the North American league by storm.

Victor Rodriguez

The second Spanish player to enjoy a brilliant time in the MLS is Victor Rodriguez.

Now playing in La Liga for Elche, he spent three years terrorizing opposition defences for the Seattle Sounders.

This saw him make the move to the MLS in 2017 from Sporting Gijon, before joining Elche in 2020. During his time in Seattle, the player made a big impact.

This included netting twice in his first five starts and helping the club reach the MLS Cup Final in his first season.

Although injury curtailed his second season somewhat, he was on fire again in 2019 and scored a goal in the 2019 MLS Cup Final, which Seattle won.

A tricky, creative right winger, Rodriguez left the Pacific Northwest in high spirits and with a legion of US fans.

Victor Vázquez 

Victor Vázquez is a product of the Barcelona youth academy and another Spanish-born player who lit up the MLS for a few seasons in the late 2010s.

Interestingly, 2021 saw him make a return to the league with LA Galaxy.

For the purposes of our list, though, we are looking at his first stint in the US with Toronto.

During this time, Vázquez was a key player for the team and helped them to a historic campaign in 2017.

Known for his passing, vision and playmaking ability, the player had a hand in 24 goals during this season.

Although his second season did not quite hit the heights of the first, his record for Toronto of 25 assists and 16 goals in 52 games makes for great reading.

If he can get back to this form for the Galaxy, he will be a shrewd signing.

Spanish players help to make the MLS popular

Whether it is huge names like David Villa or other top stars, Spanish players have certainly played their part in making the MLS an exciting league to follow.

Of course, we can only hope that top names like Pedri or Ferran Torres can one day make the move to the US to continue this tradition.

Until then, we can simply look back on some of the best Spanish players US fans have had the honor to watch.

Tags David Villa La Liga Major League Soccer MLS