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MLS: David Villa Wins MLS MVP Award, Pedro Morales Departs Vancouver

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 06: David Villa of New York City FC poses for a photo with the 2016 Landon Donovan MLS MVP trophy at Spring Studios on December 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Patrick Vieira’s New York City FC may come away empty handed in terms of team trophies, but the likes of David Villa were due to salvage some form of dignity and pride in a season that capitulated at the hands of MLS Cup hosts Toronto FC and Sebastian Giovinco.

Villa was named the 2016 MLS Most Valuable Player by the league after scoring 23 goals and giving NYCFC its first taste of the postseason. A major question will now be how long Villa remains with New York City FC, especially with Frank Lampard and Andoni Iraola departing in the offseason.

“It means a lot,” Villa said. “It’s the example I want to show to the people in America, in MLS, day by day. This award is a lot to me because the vote for this award is from everybody working in MLS, like the community of the players, like the community of the coaches, and the community of the journalists. To be a winner of all the voting when you see the MLS with the big players, means a lot to me. It’s one of the best days of my career.

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“The most important thing for any professional, but especially for a soccer player, is the recognition of the people. That video had a lot of teammates that I’ve shared a lot of moments over many years, and for all of them to still have that affection for me is important for me. In a few years when I retire, I hope everyone remembers me as a great professional, a great friend, a great teammate.”

“David didn’t miss any training during the season,” said Vieira. “He’s always there, training hard, working hard, talking to players. When we’re talking about David, we’re talking about somebody who loves the game, somebody who is humble, somebody who is really positive and that’s why he’s so successful.”

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Speaking of departures, Pedro Morales is on his way out at the Vancouver Whitecaps after the club chose not to exercise his 2017 contract option. Morales will be eligible for the MLS Re-Entry Process but can be traded or choose to opt out and be available for the transfer window.

“I’d like to give thanks on behalf of my family and I for these three amazing years, which without a doubt have made an impact on my life as a person and my career as a football player,” Morales said. “I have finished my time as a Whitecaps FC player and I’m truly grateful and honored for the opportunity I had to be a part of this amazing club. I hope to remain in the memory of those who knew my football skills but more so to those who knew me as a person. Along with my family, all I can say is that we were happy here in Vancouver and we want to wish the club much success in the new season.”

“Since the day Pedro joined our club he has been an excellent professional and one of the most naturally gifted players I have ever coached,” said Whitecaps manager Carl Robinson. “We are thankful for his contributions to the club and city, and wish him all the best.”

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