David Silva is arguably playing his best football this season – as he approaches another notable moment in a glittering career, we pay tribute to the Blues’ crowd idol…
Could he also score his 50th goal for the Blues to cap a memorable day? You wouldn’t put it past him… It seems a long time ago since his debut against Spurs in 2010, but while seven years may have passed all too quickly, many believe this campaign could be his best yet.
Silva has played in 26 of the Blues’ 28 Premier League games this season – he was injured for a couple – and he’s been relishing his role in Pep Guardiola’s side. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would disagree that he’s been one of the greatest players ever to wear a City shirt.
Many believe him to be the best. Quite an accolade considering some of the players we currently have and some of the greats who have gone before.
It’s also worth remembering that David could have played for any of the top Spanish clubs, but he chose to test himself in what many believe to be the toughest league in the world and while other La Liga talents have shone brightly on their own soil, few (if any) can claim to have had the impact Silva has on foreign turf.
“I feel good, happy,” said Silva recently “That I’ve played so many games also means I’m getting a bit older now, but I’m happy here, I feel comfortable and I hope to play many more games for City and that things go well for me and the Club.
“I feel proud of having worn the captain’s armband so many times this season, but I have always said that after so many years with a club or with your national team, even if you don’t wear it, you feel important and you try to help the younger players.
“I want to help the younger players the same way I was helped when I arrived here or when I started at Valencia or wherever I’ve been. People have helped me and I’m trying to do so now. You always want to help the team in whatever way you can.”
On the international front, he recently won his 111th cap for Spain and scored his 30th goal making him the fourth highest goal-scorer in Spain’s history. He is the only midfielder in the top five, too.
In total, he has assisted 64 Premier League goals so far – as good as anyone in the Premier League and any of Europe’s top leagues – and he admits he feels he has a new lease of life under Pep. He said: “Guardiola also gives me licence to attack and be close to our opponents’ goal and create chances which is something that I really enjoy. He gives me a lot of freedom and I am very happy playing in this role.”
It will be particularly apt if he does indeed reach his Club landmark against Hull, given one of his best performances was during the 2-0 win at the KC Stadium in 2014. That day, the Blues were reduced to ten men early on and it was Silva who led from the front with a magnificent display and perhaps his best goal for the Blues – a curling, rising shot from 20 yards out - when it seemed as though the odds were stacked against Manuel Pellegrini’s men. It proved a pivotal result in City’s ultimately successful title run-in.
His team-mates are always ready to pay tribute to him, recognising his industry and creative genius. One of them, Kevin De Bruyne, said: “On the ball he is amazing. He can do everything and dictate the tempo of a game from start to finish, so he’s a great player to have when you want to control of the game – I’d say that’s one of his main strengths. He has great vision, can find anyone with a pass and it is great to have him as a team-mate.”
City legends Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee have also heaped praise on the player fans nicknamed ‘El Mago’.
Said Bell: “David Silva would walk into any City team. He is in my personal greatest all-time XI and is just fantastic to watch. When he’s on the ball, he makes the whole team tick and we don’t look the same side without him.
“He has an incredible awareness and is the perfect player for the modern game. People ask me how I rate him compared to the players who played during my era and he’s up there with the very best.
“He glides around the pitch and is an integral part of our recent successes and he is a genuine pleasure to watch. The bottom line is he is a magnificent player and I thoroughly enjoy watching him play. His movement, vision and intelligence are as good as I’ve seen and I hope he continues to grace the City team for many more years to come. We’ve invested a lot of money into the team in recent years but for me, Silva is irreplaceable.”
City’s Ambassador Mike Summerbee feels the same: “It’s a bold statement to make when you consider players from different eras and so on but I believe David Silva to be the greatest player to ever wear a City shirt.
“He has been getting the recognition he deserves off pundits just lately and yet he never wins the man-of-the-match award which is odd, because I think he’s the best player on the pitch every time I see him play. Moreover, he’s a genuinely nice, generous and humble man.”
As for Silva, himself, he admits it’s nice to hear positive things from team-mates and past greats. Unassuming, quiet and bordering on shy, Silva likes to lead a quiet life away from football and has never been one to seek the limelight. He recently said: “I just focus on playing, but the opinions that really matter the most to me are those of the City fans who watch our games every week.
“Obviously, when people talk positively about you it is always helpful because it means you are doing well and it’s beautiful when people appreciate your work. And obviously when you are not doing so well you must accept the criticism as well! It was nice to hear what Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee said recently.
I appreciate their opinion because they were both very important players from the Club’s past. They are Manchester City legends and receiving those words from such respected former players makes me very happy, honoured, and I appreciate it a lot.”