On this very day nine years ago, Manchester City announced the signing of Spanish international David Silva – a signing that would spark a revolution in Manchester. In recent years, our club has been blessed with an array of talent that will live on in the memories of blues for years to come, however David Silva goes beyond just living on in our memory. The little Spaniard has left his mark on the entire Premier League, and arguably set a precedent for the style of football played at the top level in England’s top flight.
Silva arrived at the club from La Liga side Valencia for a fee of £26m and many pundits believed that the small midfielder would struggle with the physicality of the Premier League. These fears and doubts never became a reality and David Silva very quickly became an immediate hit in Manchester. In his first season, the club won their first trophy in 35 years; winning the FA Cup of 2011.
Following his arrival, City’s number 21 greatly impressed and his astounding passing along with his exceptional technical ability led to the Spaniard affectionally being nicknamed ‘El Mago’ and ‘Merlin’ by teammates and fans alike. After nine years in Manchester, and at 33 years old, David Silva has become a respected veteran at the club and is fast approaching his 400th Manchester City appearance, as he enters his tenth year at City, El Mago will be looking to add to his 71 City goals and countless assists in a City shirt.
Throughout much of his time in England, David Silva has been unjustly underrated, and only in recent years has the Spaniard begun to fully receive the recognition that he undeniably deserves – pundits such as Gary Neville and Graeme Souness regularly sing his praises, much to the delight of Manchester City fans. Since his arrival in 2010, Silva has been an ever-present in the starting XI and the City veteran holds the record for the most Premier League appearances by any City player with 282; an impressive feat considering the breadth of talented midfielders that he has had to compete with over the years. Season after season, Silva has been consistently brilliant in the sky blue shirt and is often regarded as the best Spanish player to ever grace the Premier League. During his time in Manchester the Spaniard has won an impressive: 4 Premier Leagues, 4 League Cups, 2 FA Cups and a Community Shield, whilst establishing himself as a true legend of the club.
David Silva was brought to Manchester by Roberto Mancini, and the Spaniard has since expressed that despite Real Madrid and Barcelona both chasing his coveted signature, the desire shown by the iconic Italian manager and City persuaded him to join the club. In 2018, Silva himself admitted that making the move to Manchester has been “the best decision I’ve ever made in football”. David Silva quickly repaid both Manchester City and Roberto Mancini’s faith in him, as the midfielder thrived under the Italian and registered 15 assists in the 2011/12 campaign, one of the many reasons which led to the Italian manager referring to Silva as “one of the best players in the world”.
Following Roberto Mancini’s departure in 2013, Manuel Pellegrini took over the helm and the Chilean looked to instil a more attacking style at the club as opposed to the relatively defensive style favoured by Mancini. David Silva became pivotal in Pellegrini implementing his trademark attacking philosophy. Despite the alteration in tactics, Silva quickly adapted to Pellegrini’s system, and the Chilean’s style of play allowed the little magician to better express himself on the pitch compared to Mancini’s more rigid set-up. Under Pellegrini, the 2013/14 campaign was one of Silva’s best at the club and despite being overshadowed by Yaya Touré’s immense 20-goal season, the little Spaniard was fantastic. Throughout the season Silva was the unsung hero as the City won the Premier League and the League Cup. El Mago amassed 40 appearances in the debut season for Manuel Pellegrini, scoring 8 goals and assisting 16 in the process.
Despite now approaching his mid-30’s, David Silva has gracefully aged like a fine wine whilst continuing to improve under the tutelage of current boss Pep Guardiola. Although Guardiola’s first season is generally seen as a transitional period for the club, Silva remained a key player and was awarded the 2016/17 Etihad Player of the Season award. His scintillating form continued into the historic 2017/18 “Centurions” campaign and Silva’s consistent brilliance saw him named in the 2017/18 PFA Team of the Year for a second time. During the this campaign, David Silva missed several games following the dangerously premature birth of his son Mateo. Fortunately, Mateo recovered and was deemed healthy after a long five months in hospital. Despite these seriously distressing periods, Silva was still able to perform at a world-class level when available, and the 2017/18 season was arguably his best in a City shirt.
In the following, even more successful, “Fourmidable” campaign, David Silva was once again a key player for Manchester City, and despite fierce competition in midfield, the Spaniard amassed 50 appearances in all competitions – a feat only bettered by four outfield players. Under Pep Guardiola, Silva’s unique qualities have proved to be a perfect fit for Pep’s style of play and thanks to his ability to retain and effectively play the ball in tight spaces, the boss has referred to Silva as “one of the most incredible players in the world at playing in the pockets.” The importance of Silva to Guardiola’s tactics cannot be understated.
Away from Manchester City, David Silva was a key member of Spain’s “golden generation”, and amassed 125 appearances whilst winning a World Cup and two European Championships for La Roja. For his nation, Silva has registered the 2nd most assists and is the 4th top scorer in the history of the national team – an incredible achievement, especially considering the mass of world-class talent Spain have had available. Due to his national team contributions, Silva is hugely respected in his native country and has been respectfully applauded by fans of both Barcelona and Real Madrid when Manchester City have faced them in the Champions League. Silva’s excellence over the years has often led to comparisons to former Spain teammates Xavi and Andres Iniesta, Guardiola who has managed all three players has described Silva as being “a mixture” between the two Barcelona legends – a fantastic compliment and a tribute to Silva’s genius.
David Silva has never been a player that will be remembered for surreal moments such as Yaya Touré or Sergio Aguero. Instead, Silva will be remembered for his years of consistent brilliance in the Manchester City shirt. However, our number 21 has had his share of spectacular moments in sky blue that will live long in the memory of the City faithful.
David Silva’s first Premier League goal came against Blackpool in October 2010, and this goal is arguably his best in blue. Silva received a short pass just inside the box after being left unmarked from a free-kick and the Spaniard proceeded to effortlessly take on two Blackpool players in a Kinkladze-esque manner, before finessing the ball into the far corner. Prior to this goal, doubts had been expressed by fans and pundits alike as to whether Silva was able to play in England, but this stunning goal put those doubts to rest, and we all know what happened in the years that proceeded.
One of David Silva’s best outings in a City shirt was his phenomenal performance in the 6-1 demolition of Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2011. The result was significant in the early 2010s shift in power, as by 2014, City had once again become the dominant club in Manchester. Memorably, Silva scored the 5th goal at Old Trafford by slotting the ball through compatriot David De Gea’s legs, and two minutes later, Silva assisted City’s sixth goal with a superb chested-volley pass to Edin Dzeko.
With almost a decade of experience of playing behind world-class strikers such as Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero, goalscoring has never been the most important part of David Silva’s game. However, in recent years, Silva has developed a marvellous habit of scoring at Wembley. In the 2018 League Cup final against Arsenal, Silva scored City’s third and final goal with a clever turn and an accurate strike to help secure Guardiola’s first trophy in Manchester. The following year, Silva once again found the net at Wembley as he opened the scoring in the 2019 FA Cup final against Watford with a trademark left-footed finish into the corner, before helping City to win the game by a staggering 6-0 scoreline.
David Silva is now the clubs longest serving player following the departure of club legend Vincent Kompany, however, in June 2019, Silva announced that he will leave the club at the expiration of his contract following the 2019/2020 campaign. The news was widely expected, but nonetheless, it was very sad to hear. During his nine years at the club, Silva has won an impressive haul of 10 major trophies and has been instrumental in the club doing so. However, there is only one trophy that has eluded David Silva at City: The Champions League.
Following Silva’s announcement that the 2019/20 campaign will be his last at City, Silva is rumoured to be awarded the Manchester City captaincy for his final season at the club. Should he guide City to success in the Champions League that has eluded the club, it will be his crowning glory and the perfect way for him to bow out at the club where he has become a legend.
Adored by City fans across the world, David Silva is a true joy to watch and in my opinion, and many City fans alike, David Silva is the greatest player to ever don the sky-blue shirt. During his time at the club, the Spaniard has established himself as a Manchester City and Premier League legend and we are fortunate to have the privilege of watching for David Silva for a tenth, and final season at Manchester City.
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