It was the day we’d all been dreading…
The day David Silva decided to call time on his City career.
On Wednesday, Blue hearts broke, as ‘El Mago’ confirmed he intends to leave the Club at the end of the 2019/20 campaign – his tenth season at the Etihad Stadium.
The Spaniard told the Daily Mail: “This is the last one. Ten years for me is enough. It’s the perfect time.
“Initially the club were talking about two years (contract) but I decided to sign another one so I finished at 10 years.
“It completes the cycle. It’s a nice round figure. I can never see myself playing against City for another team. So 10 years — that’s it!”
The words we never wanted to hear.
Silva of course has been integral to our recent success. He is four appearances shy of the 400 mark, having scored 71 goals and provided 129 assists along the way. Simply sensational.
Naturally, tributes have been pouring in for the midfield maestro, who many believe to be the greatest player to have ever graced the Premier League and donned the sky blue shirt.
Pep Guardiola was full of praise for his playmaker, deeming Silva ‘a European great’ and insisting City must ‘make the most’ of his mercurial talents in his final year.
"He has been one of the greats not only in Spanish football, but in European football as well,” Guardiola declared, speaking at a Johan Cruyff Foundation event.
“He has played for 10 years in Manchester and it is not easy to perform in that league for someone with his qualities.
"He has done incredibly well. He helped me personally, he has helped us a lot in these three years we have been together.
"We have another year more and I hope we can live another good year together."
Elsewhere, in a piece entitled: ‘An ode to David Silva’, an article by the Sportsman reads: “Silva, along with Vincent Kompany, has embodied the progress that City have made over the past decade.
“Having been brought to the club by Roberto Mancini in the summer of 2010 for £28m, many fans were unsure whether his silky Spanish playing style would be suited to the Premier League.
“Little did they know that a decade later he would have won almost everything and become their greatest ever player.
“That phrase is not one that I use lightly and City, perhaps contrary to popular belief, have had many club legends during their illustrious past.
“Colin ‘The King’ Bell made 500 appearances for the club in the 1970’s, Bert Trautmann turned from prisoner-of-war to FA Cup hero and Peter Doherty was arguably their most talented player pre-2000.
“In the modern era, players like Shaun Goater, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Richard Dunne and Vincent Kompany have all endeared themselves to the City faithful, but nobody has possessed the technical ability, skill on the ball or ability to change a game that Silva has over the past nine years.
“His ability to control a game with clever touches, somewhat in the mould of the great Andres Iniesta, has made City a joy to watch in recent years.
“If football is art then Silva is Manchester’s Michelangelo, his brush is his wand of a left foot and his canvas the Etihad pitch.
“A Premier League great, the best Spanish player England has ever seen and Manchester City’s best ever player. Adiós y gracias, David.”
The Daily Mail’s Adrian Kajumba echoed: “David Silva will bring the curtain down on his Premier League career next summer and English football will say farewell to one of the greatest midfielders to grace the top division.
“He will be gone after 10 years at the end of next season but never forgotten by Premier League fans.
“The man nicknamed Merlin has been a magical signing for City, costing just £26m in 2010.
“Technically perfect, Silva's ability to effortlessly pull the strings, glide through and impact games is so consistent it is more of a surprise when he doesn't.
“Four Premier League titles are only a fraction of the legacy he will leave from his time in England. Another key figure in City's rise.”
Silva was voted ‘the Premier League’s best ever Spanish player’ in a SportBible poll, while TalkSPORT’s Ally McCoist stated: “He’s definitely one of the best foreign imports in the Premier League, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.
“He’s just an absolutely magical wee footballer.
“He’s very comfortable on the ball, always seems to have a little bit of space, he makes things happen. He sees it, he really sees it.
“His vision and awareness of people around him, his opposition and his own team is fantastic. He’s just got a great football brain.
“It’s no coincidence a talent like that has achieved what he has achieved in the game.
“The Premier League won’t be a better place without him.”
Meanwhile, Silva believes there is already a natural replacement amongst the City ranks in youngster Phil Foden.
“I’m sure he’s going to be a fantastic player,” Merlin added. “He’s a very nice man and he will be a good replacement for me.
“Apart from his natural skills, he’s a very competitive person. He always wants to win and that makes a very good footballer.
“When you’re young, you always ask people with experience. I’ve given him lots of advice, like how to move on the pitch. He’s taken the information in and he’s getting better day by day.
“He reminds me of myself when I was young — especially how he is as a person. He’s very quiet but always there, competing. He hates losing.
“The best advice I can give him is always stay calm. Whatever happens in football, the highs and lows, always keep calm.”
Unsurprisingly, given yesterday’s news, media outlets have scrambled to identify other potential suitors to fill El Mago’s boots.
One name who has been linked with a move to City for quite some time is Isco and the Daily Mail have resurfaced the rumours.
According to David Wood: “Pep Guardiola has set his sights on signing Isco from Real Madrid to replace outgoing David Silva, according to Marca.
“The Manchester City boss is a long-term admirer of the Spain international, who is available for around €80million (£71.6m).
“Isco has been assured by Real boss Zinedine Zidane that he is part of his plans for next season, according to reports in Spain.
“But Real Madrid need to recoup some of the €300m (£268m) spent on Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy, and Rodrygo Goes.”
Sports Lens, however, claim City have made a bid for Gremio’s Everton Sousa Soares.
Writes Alani Adefunmiloye: “City want to sign the Brazil international on a five-year deal worth £4 million-per-year, but it remains to be seen if both player and club will agree to a deal.
“The 23-year-old, who is keen to move to Europe, is also wanted by Manchester United, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, and City beating suitors to his signature would be huge.
“Everton has scored twice in the ongoing Copa America and has everything it takes to improve Man City’s star-studded attack.
“Gremio president Romildo Bolzan Junior has claimed offers that do not trigger the player’s £71 million release clause won’t be entertained, but it is believed a lesser fee can do the trick.”
Source: Manchester City FC / Caroline Oatway