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The usual suspects of City legends receive a mention: the likes of Colin Bell, Georgi Kinkladze, Mike Doyle, Francis Lee, Mike Summerbee… but atop the list of many a Blue stands our modern-day representative: Mr David Silva.
When ‘El Mago’ appeared at the Etihad Stadium in June 2010, few could have predicted the countless moments of magic the next eight years would conjure.
Sporting flowing locks, which complimented his silky skill, the Spaniard slotted seamlessly into the burgeoning City side, quickly becoming a fans’ favourite with fabulous flair the Etihad faithful had not witnessed since the days of Ali Benarbia and Eyal Berkovic.
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With an amazing ability to retain possession, even when surrounded by multiple opposition defenders, plus a wonderful touch and tremendous vision, accompanied by the aptitude to play the perfect pass, Silva adapted to life in English football like a duck to water, unlocking Premier League defences left, right and centre with his midfield mastery.
Since that glorious summer’s day in 2010, Silva has clocked up almost 350 appearances across all competitions in sky blue and such has been his incredible impact, he will go down in history as a Premier League legend – not just a City hero.
During that time, he has bagged 61 goals and provided an astonishing 115 assists but it is the manner of which he influences games, which has written him into Club folklore. The maestro magnificently pulls the strings in his attacking role – a puppeteer par excellence, able to see things others cannot; before they unfold. When others sail on the same wavelength, sensational things occur.
In truth, the World Cup winner has never received the recognition he deserves externally for his outstanding contribution. He was included in the 2017/18 Premier League Team of the Year (and rightly so!), but remarkably, that was only the second time he had been named in the XI. His second season in Manchester had earned him that feat but aside from those accomplishments, he had only ever gained one piece of individual acclaim – a Premier League Player of the Month gong in December 2011.
Last season’s efforts, though not necessarily his best returns in terms of stats, were perhaps the most impressive, given the turmoil in his personal life, with the harrowing illness of his newborn son, Mateo.
Despite suffering with a situation no parent should ever have to deal with and requiring time off to return back and forth to Spain, Silva rarely allowed his circumstances to affect his football, still managing to register 40 appearances, scoring ten times and creating 14 assists. Level with Raheem Sterling, he secured joint-third spot in the inaugural Premier League Playmaker of the Year charts with 11 assists – four behind Leroy Sane and five behind winner Kevin De Bruyne.
Although it seemed impossible, Silva has improved under the leadership of Pep Guardiola, thriving in a deeper role, which he claims allows him ‘freedom to attack.’ Plus, he is constantly benefiting from the ever-improving creative genius around him, who enable him to share the load and maintain his level of consistency.
When opposition fans are asked which City player they would love to have in their team, Silva is always mentioned – and unsurprisingly so, for it is not solely his individual skill which is ultimately admired but his ability to bring out the best in others.
Now that Mateo is recovering well, expect Silva to be back to his breathtaking best for the 2018/19 campaign… A delightful prospect for us; a frightening one for others.
Things we learned...