David Silva: Man City went the extra mile to sign me – it was the best decision I’ve ever made
The former Valencia star had an unsuccessful trial at Real Madrid as a youngster but, after season-long loan spells at Eibar and Celta Vigo, eventually broke into the first team at the Mestalla and formed a potent partnership with striker David Villa.
Silva scored 21 goals in 119 La Liga appearances, assisting 22 more, and became one of Los Che’s prize assets at a time when the club was crippled by debt.
Although both Barcelona and Real Madrid were keen to recruit him, Silva chose City as then-manager Roberto Mancini had been pursuing him for several months.
Speaking exclusively in the January 2019 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, out Wednesday, he says: “Genuinely, they were the team who wanted me the most and went the extra mile. Other teams were interested, but Mancini got in contact a long time before the end of the season to see if I wanted to come here, and say I was a big part of his plans.
“When someone puts so much effort into demonstrating they want to sign you, you follow your heart. That was the best decision I’ve ever made in football.”
The Spanish pass master has since had a hand in 130 goals in 260 Premier League appearances and, having already scored eight goals in his opening 18 matches of 2018/19, is on course to smash his best single-season haul of strikes – 12 in 2014/15.
Key to such scoring prowess has been his switch to a more central position, and ‘Merlin’ has paid tribute to his manager for affording him the space to weave his magic.
“Pep Guardiola has put me in a position where my best qualities are most to the fore,” he says. “There are subtle differences when you’re playing centrally, but that’s definitely the best place for me because I always love to have the ball.
“He’s not really asked anything different from me [since arriving in the summer of 2016]. You always have your struggles when there’s a new coach and it was no different with Pep. A new coach brings a new philosophy, so there are new things to learn. Ultimately, everyone is responsible for getting the best from themselves.”
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Read the full interview with David Silva in the January 2019 issue of FourFourTwo magazine. The 2018 awards special features interviews with Goal of the Year winner Gareth Bale and English Player of the Year Lucy Bronze, and speaks to Ivan Perisic about Croatia’s World Cup heroics. Plus, we go One-on-One with Michael Carrick, and hail Gareth Southgate, Virgil van Dijk and Comeback of the Year winner Hardlife Zvirekwi, who returned to action despite losing a hand.