Ever since I started watching the beautiful game, I was wondering what defines a player to be called "special"? What is it that makes a player world class?
Obviously, the things that pop into your mind is bucket loads of goals, assists, lightning pace, brilliant dribbles, stunning free-kicks but is football really all about shiny stats and figures or is it the titles on your name? Go on think about it... But if you ask me my answer would be rather different, very different and that's "consistency". I am not talking about consistent goals but consistent quality.
Premier League: the stage is set
The world has seen many gifted and talented footballers who have taken their clubs up a notch and led to titles and trophies. Premier League has been the most entertaining football league in the world thanks to its cut-throat challenge for the title and historic rivalries, It is blessed with some of the best entertainers in the footballing world.
Premier League was getting more competent than ever before with the surge of big investors and accumulation of money in the club hierarchy. Talents were scouted all over the world in search of the next big player.
Sir Alex Ferguson once quote "Attack wins you games, Defence wins you titles". In my honest opinion football games are won or lost in the midfield.
Midfield is the fulcrum around which defence and attack transitions and like a well-oiled fulcrum these transitions are smoother with better midfield players. Many World class midfielders have come and gone but only a few are born with the ability and ice cool veins to run the show in the middle of the pitch, these kind of players are a rare breed an ever diminishing one.
David Silva is one such player who has graced the Premier League. David Josué Jiménez Silva was born to a Japanese mother Eva Silva(Housewife) and Spanish father Fernando Jiménez (Former Police Officer) on the 8th day of January 1986.
Power shift in Manchester?
He played for Valencia for 6 years as a professional player before moving to Manchester City in 2010. After the switch to new Abu Dhabi owners, Manchester City was reignited with fresh resources as a part of the rebuilding process and David Silva was one of the first's to come to fulfil the club's vision and topple the established hierarchy in the Premier League.
Premier League is also known for its aggressive and physical nature, the pundits then assumed his tiny stature would be dominated by tall and strong players around him in the field. Little did they know about the legend he would become.
Manchester City is the "Noisy Neighbours" of the biggest club in England, Manchester United. City were the underdogs this whole time under the success of their cross-town rivals but little did Man United knew about the revolution that was to hit Manchester. 8 years fast forward, City has won 2 league titles as many as United have since 2010 and are very near winning this year again.
The "Special" Factor?
David Silva was rejected by Real Madrid as a kid and although Barcelona tried to sign him back in the day it was Man City fueled with new ambitions that were able to lure him to the blue side of Manchester.
He was deployed as a winger in his first season at Manchester City, Silva hasn't quite got the blistering pace or silky skills with the ball at his feet, but his technical ability on the ball to find the right pass, his composure, as well as his vision, excellent first touch and ability to control the tempo of the game was soon apparent, in the later seasons he started to play more centrally and that's when the signs of magic started.
Silva has had bad days and good ones but one thing he always brings to the game is quality and this quality is consistent. It didn't matter who the opponents are or what the game conditions are he would always turn up and put on a show on the pitch, there is a sense of stability and relief among Manchester City supporters when Silva is on the ball.
He didn't always score on big games or made 100-yard dashes but what he did was create chances and boy he was good at it, Manchester City's magician has created more goalscoring chances (598) and assisted more goals (63) than any other player in the Premier League since arriving in 2010.
Under the radar: "El Mago"
Despite all his performances, he has never won the PFA Premier League player of the season, he was named in PFA Premier League team of the year only once in 2011/2012 when City won the League title. Silva has been underrated in his entire career in England he neither had the 40-yard screamers nor the solo match-winning performances.
What Silva does best in his time on the pitch is, make his teammates look good, his intelligent movement into open spaces, his ball retention in tight spaces and good dribbling in the final third creates space for his teammates and his defence-splitting passes that create chances for goals.
Silva always likes to be involved in the game, you can watch any game where Silva has played he is always in places where there is crowd he thrives when he is under pressure from the opposition to make beautiful turns and one-touch passes to create spaces in behind and drag defenders out of position.
It always looks like he is about to lose the ball or run out of space but he is good at proving you wrong, you wonder how he comes up with that composure when surrounded by players to find his teammates. Silva has earned his popular nicknames like "El Mago"(The Magician) and "Merlin" for his magical performances every time he is present in the field.
Silva was a player of the same generation of Xavi and Iniesta, Though the latter is considered to be some of the best midfielders the game has ever seen Silva was always recognised below a par to be really seen in that world-class level. If Silva was playing for Barcelona at the time he would have won lot more accolades and titles.
He was called up for Spain international team when he was 20, his role in Spain team is more on the attacking side where he plays like a second striker and a winger, this also explains his higher goal to game ratio in Spain jersey than his Man City jersey.
The Pep Era: Etihad revolution, The next Project
In 2016/2017 Manchester City had a managerial change and the new guy brought to steer the ship was the Pep Joseph Guardiola. Pep had enormous success in Barcelona and Bayern Munich it was under him players like Xavi, Iniesta and Lionel Messi thrived with their best moments in football and young players like Thiago, Sergio Busquets, Kimmich flourished. Pep and his philosophy of total football guided him to dominance in every club he managed.
When pep arrived at Manchester he sought new players who could play the game he envisions to be played, but Silva was one such player who had one discussion with the manager and the next day he was playing it. It's not just because he is a genius footballer but its the way he played all his life maintain possession, one-touch passes, make quick movements, create spaces. only thing pep added to Silva's game is higher work rate which made him press higher up the pitch and make a further defensive contribution.
Pep has stated in a recent interview Silva has more in him and he needs to add more goals to his game which he seems to be doing well this season.
The constant presence and a rare record
Numerous players have arrived at City like Kevin De Bruyne, İlkay Gündoğan, Bernardo Silva but no one has quiet demonstrated what Silva possess, he is always the sure pick whenever he is fit to play, shows his effort towards their unchallenged title run this year. He is the cog that binds the team and threads the game together.
When City lost to Liverpool in the away fixture in Anfield(their only loss in the league), Silva was not playing due to personal reasons. His absence was obvious in the game as city found it difficult to maintain possession and beat the high paced Liverpool press, Silva is the type of player who can nullify opposition press and tire teams, he could have made a huge difference in that scintillating game.
Manchester City has won all the games David Silva has played in recent times. In fact, he has set a 130-year First division record winning 25 games in a row in all competitions this is the longest run since the league began in 1888 (Phil Neville held the original record with 20 wins for Manchester United). Under the tutelage of Guardiola Silva has found new levels to his game. Just like Goku in DBZ achieves new levels of super Saiyan Silva reaches a deeper super merlin state with more consciousness with and without the ball.
Silva has aged brilliantly like an aged fine wine by forming a devastating partnership with PFA player of the year contender Kevin De Bruyne. Even in a season which might be called his best in England he still goes under the radar while his teammates continue to win praise from all over the world.
Silva has also added more goals to his game this year which has led to some mentions in the past few months. Like Phil Neville said in a Skysports Debate "he is calm water in the Carribean sea" the work he does go unnoticed. As football, in the end, is all about entertainment and players are the showmen.
In a world of Pogba's, Silva does go about his job unrecognized among the games greatest as an unsung hero.
The number 21 jersey of City will never see another player like Silva, Premier League will never see another player like Silva. So, it's about time we enjoyed his game and cherished every moment of his touch while he paints on the football pitch with his beautiful strokes of passes.
After the new contract extension till 2020 we are all set for a decade of the beautiful game by "El Mago", surrounded by young players around him he is in his prime to transfer the knowledge to a new generation of players to bring forth the new midfield maestro to ensure the right passage of the fire that is burning in the blue side of Manchester.
World Cup 2018 is next:
David Silva was part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup-winning Spanish side and with 2 European championships under his belt, he has already seen success with the national side. The next World Cup might be his last chance to win another World Cup medal. With one hand on 3rd Premier League title and maybe a Champions league medal if City manages to win their first would lead to an extraordinary career to an exceptional player.
David has already scored many goals and was a huge part of the national sides World Cup qualification, if he manages to score a goal in the final he will receive the recognition he truly deserves. But in my eyes, he will ever be the constant icon of pure footballing brilliance that just got better and better.
I call him the Muggle Magician because of zero footballing blood in him but through his hard work, perseverance and his calmness have won hearts of pure football enthusiasts. He is one of those players who can't be hated by his rivals but just appreciated for his sheer quality on the ball in this beautiful game.