By the time the ball is nestling at the back of the net, David Villa is already halfway to the touch line at which he will do his torero-inspired arm sweep. It is simple, direct, and beautiful.
Not everyone likes it.
In Spain, Catalan friends told me this weekend, in Catalonia in particular, some take a dim view of the bullfight echo because—this is the official reason, according to my Catalan friends, but not the real one—they find the killing of bulls objectionable. The real reason for the objection, my Catalan friends said, is that many Catalans find the celebration too Spanish. But, I said, why should this be a problem? Villa is Spanish, and he celebrates as such while playing for the Spanish national team so why should he worry about the sensibilities of Catalan viewers?
Precisely because Catalans are sensitive, my Catalan friends said, and anything too Spanish alienates them, and because Villa will soon be playing for Barcelona Football Club at the Camp Nou, and you don’t want to be too Spanish there, and because some say, my Catalan friends said, coming to the nub of the issue, the torero sweep is something Villa has used in a television ad and thus each time he does it he is sending a generous wink to his sponsors.