The Associated Press
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -Barcelona forward David Villa made an impressive return after being out since December because of a broken leg, scoring as his team thrashed Real Sociedad 5-1 in the opening round of the Spanish league.
The Spain striker came on in the 75th minute to a standing ovation at Camp Nou - and nine minutes later he scored.
It was Villa's first competitive match after breaking his shin bone in last year's Club World Cup.
Villa, who missed the European Championship, played limited minutes in preseason matches for Barcelona.
Teammate Xavi Hernandez said the big win was not as welcome as having Villa back.
"The best news is that Villa has returned, and he did so with a goal," said Xavi. "The win is great, but Villa's return is the most important thing."
After scoring, Villa lifted his jersey to reveal a T-shirt with the message: "Impossible without all of you."
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi set a league record with 50 goals last season, but the lack of scoring help for the Argentina forward contributed to Barcelona losing the Spanish league title to Real Madrid.
"I hope Villa is back in full form as soon as possible," said coach Tito Vilanova, who debuted on Barcelona's sideline after five seasons as Pep Guardiola's assistant. "We are going to need his goals."
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