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Competition level in MLS 'deserves respect' - NYCFC striker David Villa

New York City FC forward David Villa has defended the playing level of MLS, stating that the league "deserves respect."

MLS has often been derided as a retirement league for aging stars from Europe and South America, and it could be argued that Villa, 35, contributes to that perception. But he insisted that anyone who takes a closer look at MLS would come away with a different impression.

"I don't think there is anyone that can come to the MLS for one, two, three months and talk badly about the league," said Villa in an interview with CNN.

"All these comments from people that talk badly about it, without a doubt it's because they haven't analyzed the league."

Villa is now entering his third season with NYCFC, and has been a huge addition to both the club and the league. Villa has scored 41 goals in 66 league and playoff appearances, and last year was named the league's MVP. But that success hasn't led the former Spain international to think any less of MLS.

Villa said, "I've been here, I've seen the league for a long time and it deserves respect from everybody for how good it is."

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