With unrivalled access to his family, friends and an A-list catalogue of former teammates, the documentary charts the remarkable rise of one of Manchester City and Spain’s greatest ever players.
‘Made in Gran Canaria’ explains how and why he was able to reach that level, exploring the experiences in his hometown, Valencia, Eibar and Vigo which shaped the man who has been at the peak of his powers during his time at the Etihad Stadium.
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Here are 10 things we learnt from watching the documentary…
His family were good talent spotters
Silva’s talent was evident from his first foray into organised football, with his mother Eva recalling opposition coaches predicting he had a future in the game.
A professional career was merely a dream back then, but it becomes clear in the documentary that, from a very early stage, Silva’s family were utterly convinced he had all the tools required to become a professional footballer.
In uncle Armando’s words, Merlin’s father, Fernando Jimenez, claimed he would be able to retire on his son’s talent, and home video footage from 1995 shows Silva senior making a telling prophecy.
“A Spain international, that’s what he’ll be.”
He was well prepared for the physicality of the Premier League
There were question marks over whether the diminutive playmaker could handle the physical demands of the Premier League when he arrived at the Etihad in 2010.
However, Silva always played up an age group and was used to opponents trying to shackle him with their physicality from the earliest stage of his career.
“That obviously helped him because he was a boy playing against men,” says his uncle, Jose Manuel Jimenez.
His father agrees, believing it enhanced his competitive spirit. “Always playing in higher age groups is good for you because it means you don’t get too comfortable,” he adds.
“You have a harder time and have to compete more, because the others are older and stronger than you.”
Juan Carlos Valeron was his hero
Silva’s childhood hero was fellow Gran Canarian midfielder, Juan Carlos Valeron.
Also a native of Arguineguín, the former Deportivo La Coruna midfielder played with Silva’s father at their hometown club before being snapped up by Las Palmas.
An idol who became a friend, El Mago refers to Valeron as his inspiration, whilst the latter reveals the similar traits they shared on the pitch.
He might have ended up in Madrid…
Silva’s precocious talent was evident from an early age and having been spotted playing for the Canary Islands’ representative team at the age of 12, he was invited to train with Real Madrid for a week.
“The kid has ability, potential. He has vision,” said a suitably impressed Vicente Del Bosque, but Fernando was unwilling to let his son leave home at that time.
“If you think he’s a player you might be interested in, he can go back to his town and you can monitor him,” Silva senior said to the Spanish giants.
They agreed he would return to the capital the following year, but it never materialised and whilst Real made calls, Silva remained at home until he joined Valencia at 14.
He initially struggled in Valencia
As one of Valencia’s greatest academy graduates, it would be easy to assume the teenage Silva made a seamless transition to life on the western coast of Spain.
He did quite the opposite.
His mother remembers him being in tears when making phone calls home, whilst grandmother Antonia said at the time “my boy isn’t right.”
Things improved, however, when his mum elected to move to Valencia in order to provide her son with more support.
Eibar were crucial for his development…
Valencia honed Silva’s talents, but a season long loan at Eibar proved invaluable in the early part of his professional career.
The midfielder played 35 times for them as he shone in the Segunda Division, but the loan and his subsequent success surprised everyone.
“At that time it didn’t seem to match; a talented technical player coming into Eibar, a team with a reputation for big, strong, powerful players,” says fitness coach Toni Ruiz.
“Nobody thought it would be beneficial because of the Basque style of football, in relation to the quality he had always shown,” adds Valencia scout Jose Jimenez.
Equally, it was expected that the playmaker would have little interest in the defensive side of the game, but, by his own admission, Silva worked hard to match the Basque outfit’s intensity and it proved to be a fruitful loan spell.
Getafe turned him down
In one of the more remarkable revelations in the documentary, we discover the little-known fact that Getafe turned down the chance to take Silva on loan the season after he impressed at Eibar.
As dad Fernando recalls: "Quique Sanchez Flores had just joined Valencia, so the deal went ‘we’ve brought in Quique so you can take David there.’ And the doctor at Getafe said he wasn’t fit enough to play football.”
He missed a reception with the King
Spain’s 2008 European Championship triumph – ending a 44-year wait for a major trophy – sparked incredible celebrations across the country.
And amongst the 23-players who made it happen, too.
Silva reveals the squad embarked on two days of partying, with lack of sleep and lack of food leaving him unable to attend the reception with the King of Spain.
Pep Guardiola wanted him at Barcelona
Pep Guardiola’s arrival at City gave him the long awaited to opportunity for him to work with a player he admired from afar for a number of years.
The Catalan put together one of the finest midfields the game has seen at Barcelona. Would he have liked to have added Silva to that set-up? Absolutely.
He is a player’s player
There is a subtlety to Silva’s talent which has led many to suggest he has been under appreciated throughout his career.
That’s not the case at the Etihad Stadium, where he is universally loved by the fans, but that doesn’t always translate into those you share the locker room with.
Only, in Silva’s case, it most certainly does. There are glowing testimonies from team-mates at all levels, including two of the most accomplished midfielders of his generation in Andres Iniesta and Xavi, both of whom hold Silva’s talent in the highest regard.
But it is left to Guardiola to best encapsulate how revered City’s No.21 is.
“He’s not interested in giving interviews, social media, Twitter, Instagram, any of that. And it seems like people like David get less recognition than people who do that all day. But I’ll tell you something he does have and that’s the respect of his fellow professionals. Of his team-mates, of his rivals, of his managers, of manager’s he’s played against.”
Watch Made in Gran Canaria on City+
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