Blues’ legend prepares to say goodbye

David Josué Jiménez Silva signed for Manchester City Football Club in July, 2010. He’d idolised the gifted Danish midfield maestro Michael Laudrop in his youth, and arrived at City from Valencia as a bit-part player from Spain’s successful World Cup campaign in South Africa.

He’d starred in his country’s European Championship triumph of 2 years earlier, and would repeat the feat in 2012. What Manchester City would get was arguably a whole lot more.

‘Merlin.’ ‘El Mago’ (The Magician). David Silva has just announced that the forthcoming season, 2019/20, will be his tenth and last at The Etihad, and the eulogising has already begun in earnest. We’re happy to add a few more column inches, and pay our respects to a universally admired, highly decorated, sublimely-skilled and hugely respected craftsman.

A player who has graced our game and illuminated it immeasurably. Up there surely in terms of admiration (foreign imports) with the likes of Bergkamp, Henry, and Drogba. Closer to home, Aguero, and Kompany. Across Manchester, Ronaldo, and Cantona.

 

 

The stats are impressive enough (above) – four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, four League Cups. 125 caps for Spain. Plenty of important goals for both. But the overriding legacy is the silky nature of the movement. Precision passing. Vision. A joy to watch – and a player who fellow professionals purr over.

Jamie Redknapp – “He is the maestro; he knows where the passes are going to go. He runs the game. A joy to watch.”

Jamie Carragher – “We are talking about a player who goes alongside Henry, Bergkamp, Cantona. All these greats that we’ve had in Premier League history …. I mentioned City’s greatest ever player, older fans may say Colin Bell, I don’t know. But David Silva, he’s the greatest.”

Gary Neville – “I can’t think of many players from a rival club that have been a credit to the game on and off the pitch as much as David Silva. Immersed himself in the city, never complains, always plays and performs brilliantly.”

Pep Guardiola – “He’s one of the best players I’ve trained. I’ve had a lot at Barca and Bayern but he’s on that list.”

We could fill page after page with similar tributes. It’s been an absolute joy to watch the electric little fella with the ball glued to that cultured left foot, and when he leaves at the season’s end, presumably to return to his native Canaries and a sentimental stint with Las Palmas FC, we’ll be thankful but sad.

City have enjoyed a scarcely-believable run of success in Silva’s near-decade at the club, and he’s been absolutely at the heart of all that.

There’s gratitude for the wonderful memories, and a wistfulness that his like pass this way all too rarely. Certainly few footballers command greater respect. We’ve just 12 months to savour what I’m sure will be further, utterly magical contributions, from EL Mago.

Which area at the Etihad, going forward, will bear his name I wonder? How about The David Silva Family Stand? All in City’s extended family were united behind David when son Mateo was born prematurely. Dad took some time out from football at what must have been a very difficult time – but Mateo has subsequently thrived, and has appeared with his father on the pitch, to the absolute delight of all.

The naming of the stand can pay tribute to a heartwarming family story, and quite brilliant footballer and club servant. A fitting legacy indeed.

 

What about the two in the middle – no disrespect to Alex Kolarov or Jerome Boateng? David Silva and Yaya Toure. As signings go, among the best any club has surely ever made.