Sky Sports reporter @GregWhelan1
David Silva reflects on dazzling decade of dominance at Manchester City
Watch Norwich vs Man City live on Saturday Night Football from 5pm on Sky Sports Premier League; Kick-off 5.30pm
Last Updated: 14/09/19 5:28pm
After announcing in the summer that this would be his final season with Manchester City, David Silva spoke exclusively to Sky Sports about his stellar Premier League career.
To his team-mates, he's known as 'The Wizard' - a little magician blessed with the talent both to score and create goals for the players around him.
"I feel here like home," he says. "Not for the weather, obviously, but for the people, for the football, it's like home. It's going be difficult after this year when I move to another place, but life carries on.
"I think the respect that the people have for me is something that you can't pay for. For me, that is one of the most important things."
It's been an era in which few players have shone more brightly than David Silva. Since his £28m arrival from Valencia in July 2010, he has been pivotal to City's success. Back then, however, even his current coach Pep Guardiola feared he might not make a big impact on the Premier League stage.
"I think not only him," Silva says with a smile. "But in football you have to do better in this kind of situation to prove that people are wrong. Inside of me I had to do this to make them wrong. "
He says he could not have foreseen that he would stay for so long. In truth, he might not have joined City at all. At the time both Real Madrid and Guardiola's Barcelona were pursuing him. Only the persistence of the then City manager Roberto Mancini persuaded him to choose Manchester over staying in Spain.
"I always try to go where they want me the most," he says. "Mancini was the most interested in me. He called me every month or every week from December to May or July. For that I made that decision. I think I made a good decision now if you look back."
He has scored 71 Premier League goals for City. None mean more to him however than his first goal against Blackpool in October 2010.
"I didn't do a proper pre-season because I came from the World Cup and didn't have a holiday," he says. "But after the Blackpool game when I scored that goal everything went easier for me. It helped my confidence. I played more after that, so the goal changed my history here."
It was in his second season Silva feels he arrived as a Premier League player.
"I think that year was amazing," he says. "I made 16 or 17 assists that year, so it was very good for me. People still speak about the one against Manchester United with the ball into Edin Dzeko because it was a beautiful assist and it was in a derby - and 6-1 as well! - so it was a game to remember.
"My style of play is to create things for the players in front of me, so I like to assist. When you score as well it's a happy moment, but sometimes if I don't play well and I score I don't feel good, so I prefer to play well and not score. I try to be like this not only in football but in life as well. It's a good thing."
Pep Guardiola's arrival at the Etihad in 2016 brought a change to Silva's remit.
"Now I play more in the middle of the pitch," he adds. "Before that I played with Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini on the wing. For my qualities it's better to play in the middle. You can move, you can go to receive the ball from a defender, you can score a goal. You are both attacking and defending."
To date Silva has won 10 major trophies with City. One of them means more to him than any other - the 2018 Premier League crown.
In 2017, Silva was given compassionate leave to be with his baby son Mateo, who had been born prematurely. As his son's health improved, he was able to return to help City secure the title - with a record points haul of 100.
"I had a difficult situation with my son and we won the league," he says. "My son was better in that time so for me that season was the best one. Everyone - not only here but around the world - had beautiful words for me, for my son, for my family."
Even at the age of 33 Silva's impact shows no sign of diminishing. Though yet to score himself this season, he has claimed two assists in each of his last two Premier League games. He has made up his mind, however, to try somewhere new next summer.
"I think the decision is good for me after 10 years here and for my family as well," he says. "I think we need another challenge. I'm going to miss this club and this city a lot, to play in front of the fans. But football is like this. I hope they can remember me like a professional guy and a good guy."
When the fans reflect on a decade of undreamed success at Manchester City they certainly will not forget David Silva's starring role.