David Silva has played a part in every single one of Manchester City’s 13 trophy-winning teams over a monumental last 10 years. In an ever-evolving club, the little Spaniard has been one of few constants.
But what do you really know about one of the most unassuming greats of the modern game?
As he prepares to wave goodbye to the Etihad Stadium this summer after a decade full of highs, the Sky Blues’ new CITY+ subscription channel is featuring a documentary which takes a look at Silva’s journey from the streets of Arguineguin in the Canary Islands to some of the greatest stages in football.
‘Made in Gran Canaria’ gives a unique view of one of City’s most decorated players of all time, speaking to childhood friends, family, colleagues and managers to explore the quiet genius behind so much of the Manchester club’s successes.
It says a lot about the four-time Premier League champion that legendary Barcelona and Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta says of Silva: “He’s got so much to his game that I have to consider him as one of the best ever.”
And where did that talent come from? Rolled-up newspaper from his grandmother, it turns out. As a youngster desperate to kick around anything resembling a football with his friends, David went begging to his grandma.
“He’d come in looking for potatoes. We wouldn’t have any. Then oranges. We wouldn’t have any,” his gran Antonia explains. “I’d say ‘You kids are driving me crazy!’ I’d grab some newspaper, roll it into a ball and leave it outside for them to play.”
It was on those streets that he honed his now-familiar skills, even if many of the onlookers thought his dad was a better footballer - something his father vehemently refutes!
Of course, Silva has gone on to greatness. He was a member of the Spain squads which won the 2010 World Cup and the European Championships in 2008 and 2012 during an unprecedented period of international dominance. He also won a Copa del Rey with Valencia before becoming City’s key attacking midfield force in an era which has seen them collect Premier Leagues, FA Cups, League Cups and Community Shields at will.
“He’s going to leave a ‘before’ and ‘after’ from his time at Manchester City,” former Spain teammate Santi Cazorla says in the documentary, and that pretty much sums up the importance of Silva.
His first season at City ended with the club ending a 35-year trophy drought by beating Stoke City in the FA Cup final. His last could yet come with a League Cup, FA Cup or even a Champions League triumph, and few would bet against them taking all three such has been the rise of the Sky Blues with Silva at the heart of their attack.
His next step is yet to be determined, but he has said that he could return to Gran Canaria to play for Las Palmas if his local club - currently ninth in the Segunda Division - earns promotion back to La Liga. But whatever he does next, he has left an indelible mark on Manchester City and its fans.
He has done so much to help change the culture at the Etihad, and has the medals to show for it. As the man himself says: “This kid could never have imagined that he could go on to win everything.”
‘Made in Gran Canaria’ is a City TV production available through CITY+ on multiple platforms