After two years of trying, Barca finally landed the former Valencia striker last summer.
Vilanova told Sport: "From day one we planned to sign Villa, but the market is not always easy.
"He's an extraordinary player, but especially a person out of the ordinary, who has showed since his signing to not only be wonderful on the field, but also inside the locker room.
"He came to Barcelona with great humility.
"We have signed a world champion, the top scorer in his team's history, a player who has cost what he cost ... yet Villa behaved with the humility of a kid being promoted from Barca B."