Follow me on twitter: @Bigballashotta
Since the draw for the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League, in Nyon, Switzerland last
Thursday, the stage has been set for a lot of drama both on and off the pitch. One significant
headline coming out of the Champions League knockout round is, Barcelona's unwillingness
to send striker David Villa on loan to any of the English teams that are interested in his services.
The Spanish international record-setting goal scorer David Villa has been highly coveted by a
few teams in the English Premier League (EPL) due to limited playing time for Barcelona.
Among the EPL sides interested in Villa's services are Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, and
Tottenham Hot Spurs. It has been a tough go for Villa to get playing time due to the
outstanding play of Lionel Messi (the FIFA Ballon d' Or winner) during his record goal-scoring
season; as well as, strikers like Cristan Tello who have been providing Barcelona with solid play
despite limited minutes. (It is worth noting that David Villa did come on as a substitute during
last weekend's 4-0 victory over Espanyol).
The Liga leaders (Barcelona) ended the 2012 campaign with a 3-1 victory away from home over
Real Valladolid CF. Barcelona continued its record-breaking start to the league by beating local
rival RCD Espanyol 4-0 at home over the weekend.
At the FIFA Ballon d' Or gala on Monday night, Barcelona's President Sandro Rosell ruled out
Villa's loan to any EPL team. Rosell told Catalan paper Sport the 31-year old striker will not be
loaned out this month...stating “a loan for David Villa in the winter transfer window can be
absolutely discarded...he is our player and we need him.”
Of all the clubs in pursuit of a Villa loan, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is high on getting
this deal done. However, Rosell maintains the 31-year old who signed a £31 million deal from
Valencia in 2012 will not leave Barcelona in January.
The window on the Villa loan is closing fast as Barcelona's sensation Lionel Messi got hurt
during a 0-0 draw against Benfica at Camp Nou on Wednesday. With the certainty of Messi's
injury up in the air, there may now be the need for Villa to play a bigger role for Barcelona.
Messi suffered a knee injury after colliding with Benefica's goalkeeper Artur. He will undergo
an MRI on Thursday to determine the severity of his injury. Messi got injured after going on
as a substitute in the 58 th minute on Wednesday. Depending on the severity of the injury,
Barca may choose to place Messi on injured reserve and insert Villa into the starting lineup
as Barcelona has already qualified for the knockout round as the top seed in Group G of the
The draw of the Round of 16 has yielded some exciting matchups including—Manchester
United vs. Real Madrid; Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich; and AC Milan will play against Barcelona.