Villa praises fortitude of Chilean miners

MADRID - Spain striker David Villa, whose family have worked in mining for generations, has praised the fortitude of the 33 workers who were rescued from a Chilean mine after two months stuck underground.

The Barcelona forward, who is from the Spanish mining region of Asturias, sent two signed shirts to the miners last month offering words of support.

"I have followed the rescue like everyone else, but you have a different perspective when you have experienced this world," Villa told his club website on Thursday.

"You have a greater appreciation of what is involved and it brings back many memories of previous eras. In this case we are all happy because all the miners are safe and healthy.

"All of us at Barcelona and in Spanish football are proud and pleased that you have survived and are back on the surface again."

The 28-year-old added: "Since I was a child I have been connected with mining and things never seem to change. Let's see if this situation helps prompt an improvement in the infrastructures so that nothing like this happens again."