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David Villa launches football academy in Korea

Spanish football star David Villa launched his football academy in South Korea on Tuesday.

Villa announced the inauguration of his DV7 Soccer Academy, which aims to help young children develop personal values through football. The prolific goal scorer, now with New York City FC in Major League Soccer (MLS), said that he is willing to support kids who are looking to maximize their abilities and planning a professional football career.

"My life has been all about football," Villa said at a press conference in Seoul. "I want my main endeavor in the future to be working with children and help their career with football."

This is the eighth football academy set up by Villa. His other academies are in Spain, Puerto Rico, the United States, Hong Kong and the Dominican Republic.

"I heard about a young South Korean footballer at my football academy in Valencia and I got interested in South Korea," he said.

"I'm sure there are lots of young talented footballers here."

Villa enjoyed a stellar club career with Valencia and FC Barcelona, among other Spanish clubs. The 35-year-old striker retired from international play in 2014 as Spain's all-time leading scorer with 59 in 97 matches. He's also the country's top scorer in the FIFA World Cup with nine.

Villa said his football academy is looking to give back to the local community by helping children from low income families and raising professional footballers.

"I know it's difficult for everyone to become a professional footballer, but I hope many children here will become pros," he said. "I also want children to have a healthy life by learning football."

Villa's football academy will be based in Incheon. There are currently 75 players enrolled in his South Korean branch, officials said.

"It's good to promote this DV7 project with Villa's achievement," said Victor Onate, an executive director of DV7 Soccer Academy. "Many footballers think about their own futures after their retirement, but Villa has already set his plans and wants to share his talents."

Villa had a busy schedule after arriving South Korea on Sunday.

He has attended various promotional events and even visited the National Assembly.

"I didn't expect this much attention here in South Korea," he said. "This is my first time visiting South Korea, but I will visit here more often."

Villa previously faced South Korean footballers in a 2010 friendly match in Austria, where his side had a 1-0 victory. Spain later went on to win the FIFA World Cup in the same year with Villa scoring five goals at the tournament.

"I remember the match against South Korea wasn't easy," he said. "It was a good match for us to prepare for the World Cup."

When asked to give his advice on three South Korean football prospects with the FC Barcelona youth team -- Lee Seung-woo, Paik Seung-ho, and Jang Gyeol-hee -- the Spanish striker simply they need to give all-out efforts.

"Based on my personal experience, you need help from other people, but what really matters is your effort," he said. "You always need to work hard to perform better tomorrow." (Yonhap)