Mens Team

Colin Bell: Watching David Silva was a treat for the eyes

Colin Bell has paid his own special tribute to departing fellow Club legend David Silva by describing the union of El Mago and City as a ‘match made in footballing heaven.’

For many, midfield maestro Bell has long been considered the greatest player to ever represent the Club.

But for the past decade, King Colin - along with thousands of other City fans around the world – has watched in admiration and awe at the way Silva has brought his own brand of joy and wonder into our lives.

A tally of four Premier League titles, three League Cups and two FA Cups illustrates the seismic impact and contribution made by the Spanish playmaker in his 10 years at City.

Much like Bell in his pomp during City’s golden period in the late 1960s and early 70s, Silva’s on-field genius belies a modest, humble individual who has always been a team player at heart.

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For his part as he reflected on Silva’s magnificent career at City, Bell says that the warmth, loyalty and sense of family engendered at City was met in kind by the way the Spanish magician brought his artistry and vision to bear.

“I think David and City were made for each other – it was the perfect combination,” Bell declared as he spoke about Silva’s incredible contribution to the City cause.

“For the past 10 years it has been a total pleasure and a privilege to watch him play.

“I’ve always said that seeing David in action has been a treat for the eyes.

“He’s been such a huge part of all our success in these past 10 years.

“For me, and I think every other City fan, it has been an absolute joy to watch him play. He always made positive things happen.

“That loyalty also marks him out as something really special. Nowadays, to have stayed at a Club for 10 years there must be something special both ways – for him and for the Club.

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“I do think we have helped to bring the best out of him and vice-versa. David’s been great for us and, hopefully, we’ve been good for him too.

“David and I were both lucky in one regard – to have both played in front of the best fans anywhere.

“They have rightly appreciated him and it’s obvious that respect is mutual from David which is the way it should be.

“Like all the best players, he makes the difficult things look so easy. His footballing brain marks him out too. He was always one step or move ahead of everybody else.

“He didn’t play for himself either, he always played for the Club which is the way it should be.

“David’s a bit like the conductor of the orchestra and I think the rest of the team always appreciated what he did and how he went about things.

“I also love the fact that he always enjoys playing too. That joy came through every time he played for us.

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“It has been a pleasure to watch him to play and, equally, you can see that sense of happiness was shared by him.

“What a player… he’s been absolutely brilliant.”

Both Bell and Silva have, of course, long since cemented their respective places in the pantheon of all-time City greats.

And there are numerous striking similarities between the two.

Besides both bestriding the midfield arena with their bewitching brand of individual genius, the pair were and remain the epitome of humble, selfless individuals.

Bell and Silva always favoured the collective good rather than seeking the acclaim of individual plaudits.

Many have tried to make a case - with passion and utter conviction - for either’s place to be anointed as the greatest City player of all time.

But it’s an almost impossible, invidious judgement to make.

To try and compare two different players spanning two different eras is a debate fraught with numerous imponderables.

But, from King Colin’s respected judgement, there is one argument that brooks no debate.

In Bell’s respected opinion, Silva’s outstanding service to not just City but the English game as whole this past decade marks Merlin out as the finest overseas player ever to grace our shores.

“Comparisons with the past are always impossible I think but I do believe that David deserves to be mentioned as the best overseas player to play in England,” Colin declared.

“It’s difficult to compare the two different eras between when I played and now. The game was quick in my day, it was all end-to-end stuff, while now it’s much more possession-based and the build-up is more intricate so it’s like chalk and cheese.

“I would have loved to have played alongside David – but then so would everybody else! What an experience that would have been.

“When you have someone as talented as David is, everything else slots into place and his impact has been incredible.

“David has been at the heart of the engine room if you like. He makes everything tick. He catches everyone’s eye and his footballing ability and intelligence always marked him out.

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“From the moment David arrived, every game he played he has brought a smile to my face and I’m sure that of every other City fan too.

“The other big thing I love about him is that he has been so consistent. He never, ever lets you down.

“He wants to be involved, he’s so comfortable in possession and he dictates everything going on about him.

“He’s absolutely brilliant and I think the rest of the team has appreciated what he does and how he conducts himself.

“For me there’s nobody better.”

The complete package on the field, Silva’s shy, modest demeanour off it have helped only further endear him to the Club’s supporters, much in the same way that Bell’s own quiet, humble and dignified manner summed up both the player and the man.

Colin says that unassuming approach from one of the game’s modern greats only helped further elevate Silva’s standing and respect both at City in particular and within the game as a whole.

And he believes any talk of trying to replace El Mago could well prove a fruitless one given Silva’s special skill sets.

“I don’t know him that well, but David always comes across as such an unassuming gentleman. He was always a real Club man,” Bell reflected.

EL MAGO | David Silva - A decade of magic

“He’s always been such an unassuming person. He doesn’t want to hold the limelight and you never heard anything negative about him off the park – all he wanted to do was just play.

“He thrives on playing football which is what it’s all about.

“There’s no edge to him at all, that’s the beauty. David’s not big headed, he’s got a smashing personality – everything about him tells you he’s a real class act.

“I’m sure if you asked all our fans, they will be sad that he’s leaving as they hold him in such high regard.

“As for comparisons, you couldn’t compare anyone with David. He’s unique – an absolute special one-off.

“It will be almost impossible to find another David Silva.

“We’ve been very lucky to have him.”

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