Christopher Nolan’s Prestige opens with the narration of Michael Caine explaining the three parts of a magic trick. The first part is called ‘The Pledge’ where the magician takes something ordinary, see it as Manchester City before the Sheikh Mansour revolution and David Silva’s arrival. The second part is called “The Turn” where the magician does something extraordinary, like David Silva helping Manchester City clinch their first ever Premier League title in 2012. But you won’t just clap yet, because turning something ordinary into extraordinary is not enough. The third and the hardest part is called ‘The Prestige’ which in this case was to turn City from ‘noisy neighbours’ to the ‘most dominant team of the decade’ and the Merlin of Manchester City did it with alarming ease.
If anyone doubts that football is an art, they should see David Silva wave his magic wand on the football field. He casts a magic spell leaving all of us spellbound and making opponents crumble like statues of sand. His intricate and precise work with the ball can leave any craftsmen stunned. Silva’s incredible balance can leave the most skilled gymnasts jealous and yet his unbelievable calm on the turf makes the Himalayan monks, the masters of achieving calmness and focus, look irrelevant.
Writing about David Silva’s greatness is like writing about how wet the water is or how tall the Burj Khalifa is. Manchester City’s beloved adopted son has been consistently spectacular that it is not even a bar debate. It’s an anecdote without a punchline and that is why Paul Pogba’s barbershop adventures spring up more often in the media than Silva’s football masterclass because people are accustomed to seeing the Spaniard sprinkle gold dust on the field.
Celebrating his grandeur journey is an indication of the end. David Silva has left Manchester City after 10 years and an ode to his greatness is a veracious proof of Silva’s mastery.
Where it all began
Born and bred on the south coast of Canaria, the small fishing village of Arguineguin remains a bastion of tranquility. Life generally moves at a slower pace than the bustling metropolises and football is far from children’s reach, Yet the young Silva was quickly obsessed to ‘futbol’ as he would often kick fruits and vegetables.
Silva’s childhood germination continued and so did the footballing education as he carefully sat observing Michael Laudrup on TV. The nine year old would meticulously take notes, trying to understand Laudrup’s supreme vision dreaming of replicating Laudraup’s magic when he steps on a football field.
UD San Fernando, a third tier side, recruited Silva in the youth team albeit as a goalkeeper. He was soon shifted to wings where he felt at home the most. At the age of 14, Silva’s mentor suggested his parents to take him to Madrid where the youngster would trial for Real Madrid youth team.
After rigorous trials and almost out qualifying every other candidate, Silva was expecting a call from Los Blancos but instead Real decided to look away because of Silva’s diminutive size. The 14 year old burdened by the physical stereotype was heartbroken. Soon Valencia came calling and even though David was hesitant to stay 2000 kilometres away from his family, he set sail from the same beaches of Arguineguin where he used to spend evenings practising the Cruyff turns and the rabonas.
In a new ecosystem, Silva immersed himself for the next three years refining his craft before being loaned to Eibar and then Celta Vigo to gain first team experience. Finally, the day came when he could unleash his creative flair in front of the Valencia faithful. His first season saw him register 48 appearances, scoring 9 goals and creating another 7.
Silva’s virgin hands lifted first ever trophy in 2007-08 as Valencia won the Copa Del Rey. The Cup victory overshadowed the larger picture. The minute financial cut was now degrading into a festering wound as the Los Che bled €400 million.
Like a bloodhound, Manchester City came sniffing to the doors of Mestalla to take away David Silva and David Villa. Valencia shooed them away by slapping a combined €135 million price tag. Manchester City knew that Los Che will soon find themselves walking on a tight rope as their financial degradation becomes more perilous and all they had to do was patiently wait.
Meanwhile, on the field, David Silva reserved the best for the last, producing a spectacle in the 2009-10 season which would prove to be his last at Mestalla. The long overdue squad dismantle began and Manchester City had their man, albeit this time for a bargain fee of £25 million.
“Why did I leave Valencia? Because the club needed me to. I was happy there and wouldn’t have left, but the situation the club was in demanded it.”
A Legendary Career…
The doors of Etihad opened with pomp and fare for Yaya Toure, Mario Balotelli and David Silva. The Sheikh Mansour revolution had begun. The football fans gathered to watch the Spanish midget weave his magic on English turf. Silva made his Premier League debut on 14th August 2010 against Tottenham Hotspur. The silky haired Silva impressed many but most importantly assured Roberto Mancini that they didn’t make a blunder bringing a scrawny midfielder into the animal Premier League circus.
We said the foreigner was too frail and could not cope with the English game’s speed or physicality. It was through this myopic lens that many were blind to the most precious gift of Silva-his intellect. The 2011-12 season saw the Spaniard impose himself as one of the top creators in the league. Silva was able to find pockets of space where your loose change wouldn’t fit in. David truly imposed himself as a Mancunian of the blue half when he spit fire in the 6-1 demolition of neighbours Manchester United.
The 6-1 bashing was an omen that David Silva would be the orchestrator to many such emphatic victories as City would go onto lift their first ever Premier League title after Sergio Aguero scored the dramatic winner against QPR on the 93rd minute. The Spaniard was on top of the assist table with 15 assists and his reward was a new bumper five year contract.
In the summer of 2012, David Silva along with Iniesta and Xavi bossed every national team as Spain went onto win the Euro 2012. Back in Manchester, the maestro kicked off the 2012-13 campaign in the usual fashion, leading the midfield and creating chances as regularly as breathing fresh air. While City looked like champions on the field, their off the field atmosphere was in turmoil.
High profile names like Carlos Tevez and Yaya Toure clashed with Roberto Mancini, threatening to even leave if the Italian remained in-charge. Questions were raised that Sheikh Mansour revolution had created a monster of big egos dominating the locker room. Then there was Silva who took the high road and refused to comment much in the public eye in front of the media and instead continued his sparkling run of performances. Eventually, Mancini was sacked and City finished second in the Premier League with David Silva finishing the season with 10 assists.
The incoming manager Manuel Pellegrini was a fan of David Silva. The Chilean had provided a platform for gifted playmakers to thrive in his teams. From a young Isco at Malaga to Santi Cazorla at Villarreal, the playmakers touched higher levels of productivity under Pellegrini’s management. Under Pellegrini, Manchester City became the attacking demons of the league sucking the opponents and spitting bones. While Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko were showered with praises for their exceptional goal tallies, it was the Silva led midfield that was the suppliers.
David Silva added yet more accolades to his trophy cabinet as City pipped Liverpool to win the League title and also bring home the League Cup. Once again, a title victory was rewarded with a contract extension and a wage rise. The 2014-15 season was a stroll in barren land as City didn’t manage to win any domestic trophy while also failing to make major in-roads in the Champions League.
City fans and the club hierarchy were going impatient with the lack of progress in the Champions League and the 2015-16 season was supposedly Pellegrini’s last chance. David Silva and Co was ready to push in a multitude of dimension with their full might, yet it was not the year for Citizens. At this stage, Silva had become one of the senior most figures not in terms of age but in terms of someone to look up to when the match took a sharp turn and our maestro would pull out a page from the book of Michael Laudrup.
In February 2016, Manchester City announced that Manuel Pellegrini leaves the Etihad after his contract runs down. As a parting gift, Pellegrini delivered the League Cup and ensured that City gets a fair shot in playing the Champions League by qualifying fourth in the table. Years of domestic accomplishments had not translated to Europe. Pep Guardiola was the man given the charge of bridging the gap and bring home the trophy that had eluded Manchester City the most.
A whopping £980 million were spent since the grand Abu Dhabi takeover yet the best City could achieve was a semi-final in the Champions League. Pep Guardiola arrived with a vision to not only win the UCL but also guide City to unprecedented domestic triumph. The endless pockets of Abu Dhabi oil giants didn’t guarantee a Champions League victory, they needed a world class coach to catalyze the process.
The herd of critics, pundits and fans doubted that Silva would not manage to survive in the high tempo Guardiola system. The Spaniard whom they call the Merlin re-invented himself and his magic trick, comfortably thriving in a deeper role while orchestrating the play up the pitch. Guardiola’s season one would heavily disappoint the fans but all knew the Tiki Taka mastermind was about to unleash something extraordinary. The Citizens made the Premier League, the toughest league in the world, the most competitive league look like an evening walk in the rose garden. Guardiola’s troops were absolutely tearing it apart. Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero all working in tandem and making the team click. David Silva amidst this all was sparkling in a new slightly deeper role that allowed De Bryune to venture further forward.
The 2017-18 season left an everlasting impact on David Silva, not for footballing reasons but for personal ones. In December 2017, Silva rushed to Spain for personal reasons. This would kick off a chain of events as he made regular trips to Spain while City cantered towards the title. On 6th January 2018, City took Burnley in an FA Cup tie. As the match would reach the 21st minute mark, the whole Etihad reverberated with chants of Silva and continuous applause: a show of support by the Citizens for David Silva who was going through one of the toughest phases of his life.
Silva missed a huge chunk of the season due to personal reasons with various theories discussed in the pubs of Manchester justifying his absence. In the build up to the Burnley game, David Silva had finally revealed the reason behind his absence. His wife had given premature birth to their son and the baby was battling for his life.
This was an astonishing revelation, especially, from someone whose private life had been more protected than Fort Knox. When mere mortals tremble and get petrified by situations like these, David Silva didn’t let his performances drop on the field, whenever he featured in the tough 3 months. But it is reminiscent of his character, this is someone who he has always been.
A sigh of relief was breathed across Manchester as David’s son Mateo was out of danger and the Mancunians could see their adopted son now more calm and relaxed. City not only demolished every team that season but obliterated the entire league. Guardiola’s men outperformed their Premier League rivals in the most convincing fashion and in the process becoming the centurions of the English Top Flight. Despite a turbulent last few months, David Silva was an indispensable part of the team.
The 2018-19 season saw a resurgent Liverpool take on the remorseless Manchester City to a title fight. This season would prove to be the hardest test of character and there would be times when the team would look up to senior figures David Silva and Vincent Kompany and they had to deliver. To make matters worse, the player who had shared the creative onus with Silva, Kevin De Bryune, was out with a long term injury.
De Bryune’s misfortune saw Silva’s namesake, Bernardo Silva thrown into the mix. The two Silva’s were in cruise control. Then came the month of December, Jurgen Klopp snapped his fingers and Manchester City crumbled, losing three games in a span of 15 days. Dr.Fury, the bald genius, Pep Guardiola pushed his avengers to the extremes because it was clear it will now take a herculean effort to defeat Thanos and his Liverpool.
Manchester City pulled off one of the most imperious last phase performances winning 15 games in a row to clinch the second consecutive League title by a wafer thin margin of one point. City also managed to win a domestic treble, a feat that had never been achieved even by the greatest of squads of Sir Alex Ferguson’s men or even by Arsenal’s Invincibles. Following Vincent Kompany’s announcement of leaving the club as a legend, David Silva inherited the captain’s armband.
To the build up of the 2019-20 season, Silva made an announcement that would leave the most ardent Man City fans in a state of shock and seizure. They knew it was coming, they didn’t knew it was coming this fast. Silva announced that he’ll leave Etihad at the end of the season, completing one decade at the club and in turn completing the club cycle.
A lackluster display in the league put City out of the race while Jurgen Klopp’s second attempt to dethrone City finally came to fruition. With Silva departing and Premier League out of the equation, winning Champions League is all that matters now. On July 26, 2020, David Silva walked out for the final time in a City shirt in the English Top Flight.
On 8th August 2020, the Spaniard walked for the final time on the lush green turf of Etihad in a UCL tie against Real Madrid. Even though City cruised past Los Blancos, it was a rather a gloomy end to a reign of Merlin because he bowed out and there were no fans in the stadium to applaud him as he took the final footsteps and walked to the tunnel of Etihad.
The refurbished 2020 Champions League is definitely his last waltz and City tried everything in their power to win the Champions League for 5 feet 7 inch diminutive magician.
“I pray every night to win the Champions League with City.”
With a rather disappointing loss against Olympique Lyon in the quarter finals, it marked the end of an era. The adopted son of Manchester City who bossed the football turf for years with his composure, elegance and magic is drawing the curtains off to his 10 year old City career. The long walk of goodbye began. Slowly with moist eyes, swallowing hard Silva made his way off the pitch as the time had come to bid farewell to one of the greatest that the game had ever witnessed.
David Silva for long has felt underrated, often providing a pretty backdrop to the more vocal protagonists like Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bryune. A player never aptly described by just stats and numbers, a player who did some of the most extra ordinary things on the pitch in the most ordinary way. Here is to David Silva! Muchas Gracias.
What was David Silva, the footballer like…
In 2010, a silky haired Spaniard, cut from the same cloth as Iniesta and Xavi arrived in Manchester. The Premier League was a war zone of muscle men hustling and bustling through the field. Midfielders were carefully chosen to cut through the field like a lawnmower. Here was a diminutive playmaker knocking at the gates to change the narrative forever. 13 trophies and 10 years later, he has earned the title of Merlin and is more Mancunian than ever.
Silva began his City career as a winger under Roberto Mancini but was seen drifting inwards in Manuel Pellegrini’s ever expanding style of play. When Guardiola arrived, doubts were casted but Silva did leave even his biggest doubters in awe. His strengths under Pep’s tutelage increased and weaknesses diminished. His overpowering creativity has left many believing he is the best Premier League player in the last decade. The term ‘free eight’ in Guardiola’s system is often used to describe the position David occupies. The role juggles between being an inside forward, deep lying playmaker and attacking midfielder enabling David Silva to extract the most of his positional brilliance.
A player who at times looked like the only mature guy on the pitch, shifting and glancing at the empty spaces, solving equations in the head faster than NASA’s supercomputer Columbia, reviewing and discarding options like some prescient little time travelling sprite. He is a wave of calm in the Caribbean Sea. David Silva was the guiding light to Sheikh Mansour’s effort in establishing Man City as the Europe’s elite.
A fan favourite who always had the rapturous support from the City faithful. When you look into the careers of club legends Steven Gerrard or Wayne Rooney, you’ll remember their phenomenal goals or long range belters or a shift put in during a certain game. David Silva is not the one who craves for the limelight.
You won’t find Youtube montages or compilations of his top goals or assists or surreal skills because whatever he does with that orb is routine from him, that’s how consistently good he has been. David Silva is a generational player and it’ll be years before we see someone matching his levels of productivity.
A trip down the memory lane…
Solo stunner at Blackpool
The silky haired Spaniard’s transition was not the smoothest, From Valencia to Manchester City, Silva changed countries, lifestyle and playing styles. The hustle and bustle of the Premier League meant David would struggle in the first initial games. All that changed when City took an away trip to the Lancashire coast.
The Spaniard was thrown into the mix after 64 minutes of frantic football. In less than three minutes of coming on, Silva set up a goal for Carlos Tevez but that wasn’t the noteworthy point of the match.
On the brink of full time David Silva scored a superb solo effort and cupid had struck the eyes of thousands of fans watching the magician at Bloomfield Road. That goal made Silva a true force and was a sort of a switch on point. From there on David Silva never looked back and helped Man City end their 35 year trophy drought by winning the FA Cup.
Playmaking masterclass in Manchester United demolition
How often have we seen David Silva reserve his absolute best for the Manchester derby. It has been a habit for the playmaker to turn up in those big ties and absolutely swing the games into City’s favour. The 6-1 demolition will always be etched in every City fans heart and they have David Silva to thank for. He carried out one of the smoothest operations from midfield with almost every attack flowing through him.
He nutmegged David De Gea to score City’s fifth and then crafted an inch perfect volleyed pass to Edin Dzeko for the six goal and that was game, set and match.
Leading from the front to the title
While Manchester City’s first Premier League title in 2011-12 season saw David Silva at the peak of his playmaking skills, the 2013-14 title saw a Silva becoming a leader on the field. The Citizens locked horns with Hull City on the final day. The battle for the title would go onto the final match day with Chelsea and Liverpool capable of snatching it away from City. Pellegrini’s men weren’t in the best of their form, a long season had seen them fall prey to mental fatigue and the demands of physical fitness.
Man City legend and captain Vincent Kompany was sent off during the 10th minute but the Spaniard in Kompany’s absence stepped up. Like a true leader leading from the front, he slammed a spectacular long range goal before setting up another one for Dzeko to seal a 2-0 win. The win also saw the Citizens clinch the Premier League title two times in three years.
City’s Centurions saw many heroes. One player that always looked tuned with Pep Guardiola’s vision was David Silva. Looking back now, his performances look even more remarkable after knowing what circumstances was he in. The anguish of his son fighting for his life didn’t deter David Silva from delivering his absolute best for City. Mateo was pulling through as David Silva returned to Manchester to feature in the Carabao Cup final against Arsenal.
The Spaniard scored the third goal which was the final nail in the coffin and in his celebration he paid an overwhelming tribute to his son which was applauded by his teammates. Mateo was seen accompanying him to Etihad next season as a Manchester City child mascot.
Domestic treble secured
David Silva played an instrumental part in securing the domestic treble for Manchester City in the 2018-19 season. On the final day of the league, Man City needed to win the game at all costs to clinch the title. This was familiar territory for Silva as he had done this on two previous occasions. Brighton came with all their might and scored, taking the lead in the 27th minute.
Silva knew that if City doesn’t react soon they’ll lose their morale. But that was not to be the case when Silva was on the field. Almost immediately, David Silva crafted a pin point perfect flick to Aguero who converted with ease bringing City to equal terms. There was no looking back from there as the Blue Moon shined against Seagulls winning 4-1 and retaining the league. Silva also struck the first goal in the FA Cup final which translated into a 6-0 demolition of Watford.
What Others say about David Silva
“He is one of the most incredible, intelligent players in the small spaces. He is one of the best I’ve ever known. It’s not just the quality, he’s a huge competitor in the training matches. The Premier League is not easy, and he did it. He must be so proud.” – Pep Guardiola
“He’s the best creative midfielder we’ve seen in this league. I didn’t see everyone play, but David Silva wants the ball and plays the same way against every team. He puts his foot in and doesn’t shy away from the ball. He’s brave off the ball and on the ball. What a player!” – Thierry Henry
“As a player he’s unique. He’s an emblem of the national team for what he’s achieved. You never heard a bad word about him.” – Luis Enrique
“When we are talking about the best foreign players to grace the Premier League then David Silva is one of the best – if not the best. There’s Thierry Henry at Arsenal, Manchester United’s Eric Cantona or Silva’s Manchester City teammate Sergio Aguero, but the Spanish star is undoubtedly in the same bracket. He might not have scored a huge amount of goals but I don’t think he is underrated by anyone who has watched him over the last 10 years. It’s impossible not to appreciate Silva’s ability and what he has done for City. With four titles and two FA Cups he will rightly go down as one of the best players in the club’s history.” – Alan Shearer
“He pulls the strings on the pitch. A brilliant footballer with great movement, he can score, assist, a player who decides a game. He’s got so much to his game, that I would consider him one of the best ever.” – Andres Iniesta
“The year I had there [at Man City], to train with him every day, to see his humility as a player and his quality and everything he brings, was something special. I am delighted that he has had the success and all the recognition because he is incredible.” – Frank Lampard
What David Silva says about David Silva
“City came in strongly for me, put their cards on the table, and what I have found out since is that every game in England is a privilege – the atmosphere, the fans, the interest that surrounds it. Every time I go out on the pitch, I know I’ve made the right decision.”
“The press often ask me about Messi and Ronaldo and who is the best, but one thing for me is very clear. For me, the No. 1 is Andres Iniesta, because he is my team-mate for Spain, and I can see that he is able to do even more difficult things on the pitch.”
“It goes without saying that the first few months after my son was born were the toughest of my life. Everyone has an image of a premature child, but until you live it and experience it, you just don’t know how bad it is.”
“Pep Guardiola sees things before they happen, and that’s an advantage – a massive plus. The way Guardiola plays suits me. It enables me to get into space in attacking positions.”
“When you see Pep on TV or read his words in the newspaper, it is the portrait of a man who is the ultimate professional. But when you work with him, you don’t just come to see him as a coach. You learn about his qualities as a man. It is that side of Pep Guardiola that the people on the outside don’t get to see.”
David Silva stats , what you can find on Wiki ( and other sites )…
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