With 57 goals and 90 assists in the 301 appearances that he has made for Manchester City, David Silva is one of the greatest players to have donned the Sky Blue jersey. But is his magical run at Etihad headed towards an underwhelming farewell amidst deafening silence?
If I could script one chapter in football history, it would see David Silva lifting the Champions League trophy for Manchester City before he bids farewell to the English side. The Spaniard himself has been vocal about his ambitions surrounding the most coveted prize in European football, and his intentions resonate with the fans.
On paper, it all seems like a fairy-tale ending to a splendid career. But even if that doesn’t happen, Silva deserves a much, much better ending to his Premier League run – something that should ideally witness Etihad echoing with chants of gratitude.
Unfortunately, this picture seems to be a distant dream as the world battles a global pandemic.
The arrival of the magician
With a little less than 30 minutes to go, Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City were struggling to find their breakthrough against Blackpool, who made their Premier League debut that season. Nigel de Jong, Carlos Tevez, and Emmanuel Adebayor couldn’t find a way to put the ball past Matt Gilks while Ian Holloway’s men dominated the possession.
Mancini knew that he had to change the play and he decided to bring in David Silva – one of the most promising signings of the season.
It had been eight weeks since the World Cup 2010 winner had made his Premier League debut for the English side. Since the Spaniard was far from the conventional mould of the players that would grace the English league at the time, there were lots of doubts about Silva’s chances at succeeding in the new league. Indifferent to the popular opinion, Mancini trusted the midfielder and decided to bring him on in the 66th minute.
Little did anyone know; it was the beginning of a magical spell.
In less than sixty seconds since his arrival on the pitch, Silva created a beautiful assist for Tevez to capitalise and earn the lead for Manchester City. Twenty-three minutes later, the Merlin tricked two defenders before finding the right space to curl the ball into the far corner of the net. His goal allowed City to pick a 3-2 victory and thus, began the legendary run of the player donning the No. 21 jersey.
Rise to the top
In the decade that followed, David Silva remained silent yet significant player in the Manchester City squad. While Mancini’s appreciation for the Spaniard was no secret, the latter also earned the admiration of managers that followed — Manuel Pellegrini, Brian Kidd, and Pep Guardiola.
David Silva is often dubbed as a magician by City fans owing to his mesmerising tricks in the midfield. He is regarded highly by his teammates and coaches for his ability to identify the space that’s often missed by those around him. His sublime passes, accuracy in reading the defender, and hunger to seek control of the ball turns him into an unbeatable force in the centre of the pitch.
Needless to say, Silva’s creativity in the game and his relentless efforts to keep the ball moving made him one of the most dependable names in City’s attack. He used his flawless control over the ball to make up for anything that he lacked in stature.
While doubting Silva’s quality on the pitch is almost criminal, it’s his character that earned him the respect of the fans as well as those who share the locker room with him. The Spaniard didn’t shy away from taking responsibilities even when he was batting against the worst of times in his personal life.
Even in the most passionate moments during the game, we have hardly seen him be disrespectful towards others on the field. Hence, it shouldn’t surprise you that despite playing in the Premier League for ten years, David Silva has never been shown a red card.
“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 that he does have, and that’s the respect of his fellow professionals – of his team-mates, his rivals, his managers, managers he’s played against. And he has earned all of that.
‘Some have all the respect outside but inside the changing room, they have none. David is exactly the opposite and that’s the best legacy he could have.” — Pep Guardiola
The last season
David Silva’s announcement about leaving Manchester City after a decade was shocking yet understandable. Chosen as the club captain, Silva had to assume a lot more responsibility during the games. As a result, he now appears to more conscious in the game as the effect is directly seen on his pace.
This season, we saw him occasionally slowing down City’s attack and being hesitant in front of the goal – something that is not normally associated with the player in question. After all, it was David Silva’s courage that saw him punching above his weight throughout his career, which in turn, turned him into the player that he is today.
Whatever may be the reason, many would argue that it has been an underwhelming season for the Spaniard so far. Despite that, he has the fourth-highest number of league assists to his name this season. This alone speaks volumes about the expectations that one holds from a player of his calibre.
If that doesn’t convince you, then his four Premier League trophies, two FA Cups and three league cups might just do the trick.
While Manchester City’s hopes of retaining the Premier League title were devoured by a weak defence this season, they still have a shot at winning the Champions League. If reports are to be believed, David Silva could sign a short-term extension of his contract to fight for the one trophy that’s still missing from his cabinet. We know that he wants that piece of silverware and it would be poetic to see him celebrate a historic victory with the cub.
I’d only say that he has to be proud for all that he has achieved in football because he has been consistent and, especially at this club, he will be always remembered as one of the biggest, biggest, biggest players ever to wear the Man City shirt. If we’re talking about the top five, David is one of them, and I don’t say that lightly. — Pep Guardiola
Although seeing David Silva leave Manchester City without the Champions League would be heart-breaking, it will be worse to see him bid adieu to this club without the fans celebrating his magnificent run. As underrated as he may seem, Silva is one of the best players to have graced not only this English side but also the Premier League.
In a perfect world, a player like David Silva would have the crowd on its feet, reminiscing in the glory of an illustrious career. For someone who spent ten years pulling the tricks while standing behind the dark edges of the vignette, he deserves better than quietly disappearing behind the Blue Moon. But destiny wouldn’t be half as intriguing if you took away its cruelty.