As both Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher and Manchester City celebrity fan Noel Gallagher lauded David Silva as the Citizens’ greatest ever player this week, fans across the globe have been reflecting on El Mago’s illustrious career.
Proceeding Spain’s World Cup triumph in 2010, Manchester City took a chance on signing a 24-year-old ball playing central midfielder – one that Real Madrid once considered was too small to make it – to play in the most competitive, physical and fastest league on the planet.
‘Golden Silva’ truly announced himself in English football at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool in October of his debut season. Receiving a short free-kick inside the box, the midfield maestro skipped through Stephen Crainey and David Vaughan with a series of deft touches and feinted shots, before opening up his body and finessing the ball around Charlie Adam and into the net.
This moment of magic stunned Premier League pundits and fans alike and gave everyone a serious indication that this player had something special.
Seven years on, two Premier League titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup later, a 31-year-old David Silva has signed a contract extension lasting until 2020, by which point he’ll have spent a decade at the club.
Whether this is the beginning of the end or simply another staging post in Silva’s love affair with the Citizens, his influence at the Etihad has been nothing short of legendary. But is he the greatest in City’s history?
The legends of the past in Francis Lee, Mike Summerbee and Frank Swift are massively rated among the City faithful, whilst the legends of modern times in all time goalscorer Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure are also in the discussion. The biggest argument in favour of the Spaniard comes from the man simply known as ‘The King’ to fans, with Colin Bell proclaiming: “Actually, David Silva is the greatest player to have represented the club.”
In the context of the modern era of English football, Silva hasn’t scored the goals of Sergio Aguero or showed the overt domination of the likes of Yaya Toure in the centre of the park. He also hasn’t displayed the level of emotion attributed to all time greats like current skipper Vincent Kompany. However, his technical quality truly is that extraordinary that it renders these observations trivial.
There have obviously been stand-out moments in the Spaniard’s career, despite his work not often making the highlight reel – another notable one being his skim-volleyed assist to Edin Dzeko in City’s 6-1 decimation of rivals Manchester United in 2011, in which the midfielder also netted himself.
50 goals in over 300 appearances with over 100 assists, really don’t tell the full story of the little architect’s impact on the Premier League though. Reserved off the pitch and level headed, Silva has consistently dictated whole matches from midfield with near faultless ease year after year.
David Silva has absolutely ran the show today, always makes the right decisions. Absolute Rolls-Royce of a midfielder 👌🏾⚽️
— Curtis Woodhouse (@curtiswoodhous8) December 10, 2017
Silva essentially embodies his club’s footballing philosophy and ideology of how football is meant to be played. With and without the ball, he’s guided an ever-changing team with his football intelligence and continues being City’s main catalyst to control and building attacks to this day.
Silva currently ply’s his trade in an undefeated Pep Guardiola team and leads the league with eight assists this term – having notably scored in City’s 2-1 victory at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Fans in the blue half of Manchester have been blessed with a plethora of talent in the last ten years, but none have had the continued importance, irreplaceable impact and longevity of Silva.