When Argentinian World Cup winners Ricky Villa and Ossie Ardiles were unveiled as Tottenham Hotspur’s new signings in the summer of 1978 it was one of the most sensational transfer coups English football had ever seen. The pair made an instant impression.
Ossie claimed the limelight with his wonderful control and endearing accent, but when Ricky dribbled his way round half the Manchester City team to score the greatest ever Wembley goal in 1981 he swerved his way into the hearts of the nation and a permanent place in English football folklore.
For so long uncomfortable speaking in English, in And Still Ricky Villa – through the translation of Federico Ardiles (Ossie’s son) – for the first time Ricky is able to tell his story. From his childhood growing up on a farm in rural Argentina, when he would ride to school on horseback, to becoming Argentina’s first million dollar player, starring for his country alongside a promising teenager called Diego Maradona and winning the World Cup on home soil as part of Argentina’s 1978 squad.
He talks in depth about arriving in London with Ossie and – despite the tickertape reception – his frustration at being unable to communicate properly and his subsequent despair.
He tells of how he grew to love Spurs and English football (and the English countryside), reveals the elation of scoring that wonder goal at Wembley and how he was torn between two countries at war during the Falklands conflict.
Packed with great stories, And Still Ricky Villa is a vibrant account of the life of one of English football’s most-loved characters and a fascinating insight into what it was like to be a foreign player in the first division in the 1970s and 80s.