It’s one thing to remain the centrepiece of a supremely talented and ambitious club side for the best part of a decade. It’s another thing to do so when that club has a blank chequebook at its disposal, a tendency to stockpile players in your position and has gone through three managers during your time there – each with their own priorities and playing style.
David Silva, though, endures as perhaps the only remaining constant from Manchester City’s imperial era. He joined in the summer of 2010, earned his club's player of the year award in the following, title-winning season, and has since provided a velvet-booted presence at the heart of a consistently high-grade attacking unit.
Silva has 8 assists in the Premier League this season, one more than his total from 2016/17
Now the team’s stand-in skipper on the regular occasions when Vincent Kompany is absent, Silva is undoubtedly the player to whom his team looks when trouble appears. He demands the ball at all times and refuses to hide no matter how grave the situation, making him possibly the bravest footballer in the league.
And, of course, he has the talent to back it up: his touch is never less than immaculate and his choice, timing and weight of pass always a joy to watch.
He belongs firmly alongside Dennis Bergkamp and Luka Modric in the list of the Premier League’s most aesthetically majestic players, but he has a consistency and low-key decisiveness that even evaded both of those.
Under Guardiola he has got better still. That Bernardo Silva, talisman of last season’s free-flowing Monaco side and £40m summer acquisition, has barely had a look-in so far is testament to the enduring greatness of a man who has sound claims to be City’s finest ever player.
Highlight: Five goals in 10 games helped Spain to qualify undefeated for the World Cup and, after a decade of skirting around the peripheries, he established himself as a central figure in his national side.
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FourFourTwo's 100 Best Football Players in the World 2017
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