When things are going so well, you have to dig a bit deeper to find what’s wrong. The defense isn’t perfect and Barcelona have had close calls, but they’re 8 points ahead of Real Madrid, Lionel Messi is a goal machine and they are still undefeated in the league. So why isn’t David Villa happy as most would expect him to be?
First we had Cristiano Ronaldo as the unhappy one, probably because he wasn’t getting enough money. Now we have Madrid papers trying to find trouble brewing at Barcelona. On the surface, there seems to be something wrong with David Villa’s mood. Maybe it’s all the yelling with Lionel Messi, which as now happened twice this season as the team’s top scorer wasn’t happy with Villa not passing to him on a couple of occasions, including the recent Champions League defeat at Celtic.
Villa didn’t seem to be celebrate any of Barcelona’s 4 goals against Mallorca (4-2 win) and certainly not join the group that was celebrating with Lionel Messi while he scored twice. Villa began the season as a bench player but has started in the last four league matches for Barcelona, scoring in two of them (Rayo and Celta), actually looking like the best player on the pitch in the 3-1 win over Vigo.
But he’s not finishing a single match, not the entire 90 minutes. Tito Vilanova is still cautious with him after such a long period off the pitch since the injury in the club world cup. An injury, who knows, that might have cost Barcelona their league and European title, lacking the one true striker this team has.
Maybe we’re reading too much into it. Villa didn’t play well against Mallorca, but was very effective so far this season, whether he’s started or came off the bench. While there might be some sort of rift between him and Messi, it hasn’t stopped him from scoring 5 goals and adding an assist in nine matches for the team this season, the most productive of the potential forwards (excluding Messi), while Alexis and Pedro are struggling to find their scoring form up until now.
To be fair, there’s a good chance that this is simply the Madrid’s media way of helping Real get back in the race. Eight points in the La Liga seems like an impossible job, unless Atletico Madrid are for real and will be able to take off points from Barcelona, but that also means they are also looking quite favorable to win their first derby in over a decade. Real also have only one more match left against Barcelona, in a league that aligns very few and true threats to the points consumption rates of both clubs.
Maybe he was having a bad day, or maybe he actually does have a bad thing going on with Lionel Messi. It’s impossible to like everyone on a squad of more than 20 players, and even Messi has his moments of stepping out from his squeaky clean image to expose some sharp teeth, with Villa on the receiving end. Only if Villa suddenly suffers from a sudden and severe decline of form and/or gets benched inexplicably, than we’ll know that there’s something bigger beneath the surface. For now, it’s just a player not celebrating. It happened in Madrid with Ronaldo, which didn’t really stop them from winning.