David Villa named MLS most valuable player in second season with NYCFC

New York City FC's David Villa was named Major League Soccer's MVP for the 2016 season on Tuesday.

In his second season in MLS, Villa scored 23 goals -- one off the league lead -- in helping NYCFC finish second in the Eastern Conference and qualify for the playoffs for the first time.

"I'm very proud to represent NYCFC and to receive this award," Villa said. "It's a big day for me because this is one of the things I said I wanted to do when I came here two years ago.

"This is an important day in my career -- this is an important moment for me. This award is for the best player in this amazing league which has many quality players so this is a very happy and proud day for me."

He beat New York Red Bulls teammates Sacha Kljestan and Bradley Wright-Phillips for the award.

The 35-year-old received an average of nearly 26 percent of the vote, while Golden Boot winner Wright-Phillips had almost 19.3 percent, with Kljestan receiving 17.6.

Villa handily won the player and club officials' vote, but in the media vote he was tied with Wright-Phillips and Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco -- who finished fourth overall -- at 22.43 percent.

Giovinco won the award last season, when it was renamed the Landon Donovan MLS MVP for the first time.

Montreal's Ignacio Piatti finished fifth in the voting with an average of 7.7 percent.

Villa scored 18 goals in 2015, his first season in the U.S., and his two-year total of 41 is the most in MLS in that span.

Before moving to MLS, Villa was a prolific scorer during five seasons with Valencia, then won the 2010 World Cup with Spain before moving that summer to Barcelona, where he found the net 48 times in all competitions in three years. He then spent one season at Atletico Madrid before leaving Spain.