David Silva: Salute to Manchester City legend after final Premier League appearance

Sky Sports pundits lead plaudits for Man City legend as glittering Premier League career comes to an end

David Silva

The Spaniard received an emotional send off at the Etihad Stadium when he was substituted after 85 minutes in Sunday's 5-0 victory over Norwich in what was his 309th and final Premier League appearance for City.

It brought Silva's domestic career in England to an end after a glittering 10-year period that had delivered four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, five League Cups and secured legendary status for the playmaker at City.

Silva bowed out as Manchester City's record Premier League appearance, win and assist holder and can complete a clean sweep of major honours by guiding City to the greatest prize of all in August's Champions League finale.

Here, with the help of Sky Sports' pundit panel, we assess the 34-year-old's legacy...

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'City's first modern world-class talent'

Sky Sports' Gary Neville:

"David Silva was probably City's first world-class player in my lifetime. When he and Sergio Aguero came from Spain, I thought they would last two or three years. You could see the talent, but I did not think they would commit to the city like they have done. They are absolute professionals and what they have achieved on the pitch is outstanding.

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"I think back to three seasons ago and that first Pep Guardiola title win. It was Silva and Kevin De Bruyne in front of Fernandinho - I knew they could play; I did not know those two could defend. The work ethic that season, it took my thinking to another level.

"If anyone wants to go back and watch outstanding world-class players playing in midfield who wouldn't ordinarily be classed as central midfielders doing that role and doing both sides of the game equally well, it was that season."

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With David Silva leaving Manchester City and the Premier League, the Sky Sports pundits reflect on his legacy

'Silva an absolute superstar'

Sky Sports' Micah Richards:

"I am a bit emotional to see him leave, to be honest. He is a superstar, whether he likes it or not, but what I like about him the most is that he does not act like a superstar. He is the most humble person you will ever meet.

"He rented my house for a couple of years and he always made sure if any work needed doing he would do it.

"For me, the person matched with the player he was on the field, he was an absolute superstar. He deserves absolutely everything. One of the best players ever to grace the Premier League."

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David Silva talks about his time at Manchester City after playing his last game for the club.

'A little genius'

Revered for his magical ability to spot and thread passes as well as retain possession and drive forward, the playmaker has been known as Merlin throughout his time at the Etihad Stadium.

Sky Sports' Roy Keane:

"I always think of the top players who have played in the Premier League - Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Steven Gerrard, Ryan Giggs. David Silva is up there with all those boys, absolutely fantastic.

"It is just a pity when you think of him leaving in an empty stadium, I am sure the City fans would have loved to give him a big send off and I am sure he will come back and get one.

"I look at players who have played over the last 10 years and I always think since I have retired about players I would have loved to have played against, but he is one I am glad I was not around to play against because I know he would have twisted me inside out! A little genius."

david silva

'A beautiful footballer, a genius'

Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp:

"He is amazing, a beautiful footballer. He has always got time on the ball. I also love when you watch him live how he dictates the play, how he moves players into positions. That is what great midfield players do in tight areas.

"When he signed from Valencia there were obviously question marks about whether he could handle the pressure and intensity of the Premier League. He has handled it in abundance.

"He has been amazing. He is so unassuming. He has let the football do the talking on the pitch. Just a genius."

David Silva played his last Premier League game for Manchester City and shares his thoughts on his successful 10-year stay at the Etihad

'We'd never seen Silva's like before'

After more than 430 appearances in all competitions, Silva is widely regarded as City's greatest player of the modern era, let alone midfielder.

Sky Sports' Jamie Carragher:

"David Silva has been huge. I always think of Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and David Silva. I think a lot of it was built around those four players.

"The difference with those four is that we have seen a Kompany type of player at most of the top clubs. We have seen great goalscorers like Sergio Aguero. We have seen midfielders who power forward and get goals like Yaya Toure. I think the special thing about David Silva is that I don't think we had seen anyone in our game like that before.

david silva

"We marvel at players like Xavi and Andres Iniesta but we don't always see them in the Premier League, we think maybe they are not suited to the Premier League. He was different, that is what made him special.

"When you watch David Silva play, he might lose the ball very occasionally but he never gets tackled. It is almost like trying to tackle dust. You never see anyone get a challenge on him. He is just a special footballer. Not just one of the greats for Manchester City but one of the greatest we have ever seen in the Premier League."

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'Silva good enough for great Barca team'

Sky Sports' Graeme Souness:

"I think David Silva has been fabulous throughout his 10 years. He plays in an area where it's difficult to play. He plays just off the front in the final third, lots of bodies, lots of people looking to be aggressive towards him in there.

"He is taking the ball on the half turn all the time. He never gives it away in the tightest of areas. He has just been a dream. He would have got into the great Barcelona team with Xavi and Iniesta, he was that good.

"He was just a delight to watch. If you like football, you can't help but like him. He has been sensational."

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