Tottenham target David Villa says Diego Simeone was key to his move to Atletico Madrid

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David Villa has said Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone was key to his decision to move to the Spanish capital.

Atleti moved to sign Spain international Villa earlier this week after the 31-year-old, who was linked with Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United, had found himself down the pecking order at Barcelona in recent times.

Villa, addressing the media for the first time since the transfer was announced, said: “I spoke to Simeone and one of the key factors for me was the confidence he had in me. He said he was excited about making me a part of his plans and getting my confidence back up.

“This is a winning team that has won lots of titles in the last few years. I’m here to try to help make the team a little but better.”

Although Villa suffered a difficult end to his time at the Camp Nou, he was keen to pay tribute to his former club.

“I’ve only got good things to say about Barcelona, for their respect and their kindness,” he said. “I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to spend three years at a great club like Barca. I hope I will be just as happy here.”

Villa, who played 119 games and scored 48 goals in his three seasons at the Camp Nou, also expressed gratitude to the club for the way they handled his transfer.

“They made it easy for me to join Atletico because they knew I wanted to play for this club,” he said.Villa passed a fitness test on Tuesday and will be officially presented as an Atletico player on July 15.

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