Sporting Gijón

Villa attracted interest from many Asturian teams, but one of the province's bigger teams, Real Oviedo, declared that he was too short and that they did not believe he had sufficient potential.He subsequently got his professional breakthrough at his local club Sporting de Gijón, following in the footsteps of his childhood idol Quini.
Starting out at the team's youth ranks, he made his first-team début in the 2000–01 season. After scoring 25 goals in two seasons, he became a first team regular. Pepe Acebal, the Sporting Gijon manager at the time, said that Villa initially lacked the stamina to have a real impact and had to be given his chance bit by bit and that Villa's capacity for work was "unrivalled".
"He had great technical qualities. His first touch was superb and, although you can never be sure someone will make it, you could tell he was talented. He makes very clever diagonal runs, breaking away from defenders, and he invariably made the right decisions. He is very intuitive."–Pepe Acebal, former Sporting Gijón manager.
With his goal tally nearly reaching 40 goals after spending two full seasons in Gijón's main team,Villa ultimately got his chance in Spain's top-flight when Sporting were in financial difficulty and newly promoted Real Zaragoza signed him for approximately €3 million in the summer of 2003.