After ten years, eleven major trophies, and 400 appearances, Manchester City legend David Silva is leaving the Etihad.
The Spanish midfielder has managed to win an impressive four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and five EFL trophies.
It remains to be seen, however, whether he will leave the club with a Champions League winner’s medal in his hand, the only major honour missing from his time at the club.
It would certainly be the best going away present for the Spanish international, who also has two wins at the European Championships and a World Cup to his name.
Such success is above and beyond what Silva ever thought he would enjoy in his career:
“When I look back at everything, I could never in my wildest dreams have imagined what I would achieve,” Silva said.
“When you are young, you don’t dream about all of this.
“You dream about becoming a footballer, a professional footballer, you dream of playing in the top flight – but you never think about all the things that you could possibly achieve.”
While it may seem a distant memory in the face of all that he has achieved in Manchester, David Silva’s transfer to the Citizens was largely down to the financial troubles of his former club, Valencia.
“Why did I leave Valencia? Because the club needed me to,” Silva admitted, not long after he joined City.
“I was happy there and wouldn’t have left, but the situation the club was in demanded it.”
In the end, the Spanish club in the end accepted a bid of £25m for Silva.
Given his success in the last ten years, this seems like a a bargain price, but even in 2010 it was a massive steal for City.
Pep Guardiola has called Silva “one of the best” players he has ever known. And this is coming from a man who has worked with too many world-beaters to count.
Premier League players, both past and present, have also sung the praises of the little midfielder known as El Mago (the magician).
Jamie Carragher, back in 2017, called Silva City’s “best ever player” and Alan Shearer put the Spaniard in the same bracket as “Thierry Henry at Arsenal, Manchester United’s Eric Cantona or Silva’s Manchester City teammate Sergio Aguero”.
Peculiarly, despite these plaudits, Silva has, surprisingly, received few individual awards during his time at City.
The 34-year-old has won only one Premier League Player of the Month award and has appeared in the League’s team of the season only twice.
For the fans, some believe the Spanish maestro is destined to remain dwarfed by the likes of modern City legends such as Kompany and Aguero.
The founder of CityXtra, Freddie Pye, told The Manc that Silva “will always be in the shadow of the likes of Kompany, Aguero, and Yaya Toure in the eyes of other football fans, purely down to these players having scored goals that ultimately won trophies.”
Freddie believes that when it comes to standout moments for Silva, it is not about goals.
“City fans will fondly remember the assists, the moments of magic, the gliding across the surface effortlessly,” he argued.
There have been many of them.
Silva’s sumptuous through ball to Edin Dzeko set up City’s sixth goal in their famous 6-1 thrashing of United at Old Trafford; voted one of his best moments at the club.
Another fond memory was his assist against Wigan back in 2011, where he managed to bypass three opposition players with ease to slide a perfect ball through to Aguero to bag his hat-trick.
And, of course, who could forget Kompany’s winning header against United back in April of the 11/12 season? A goal, which effectively won the blues their first Premier League title, came from a Silva corner.
Despite the standout moments, many recognise Silva’s biggest contribution to the team was his consistency and his ability to control a match despite having played under different systems, under three different managers (Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini and Pep Guardiola).
Supporters are also passionate about making sure Silva’s contributions to club are recognised. Some are asking for statue of Silva to be placed outside of the Etihad, with a petition set up in aid of this mission close to 1000 signatures.
It is unclear what the future holds for the Spanish star.
But, for now, Silva is only thinking about the Champions League.
What a way to go out…
An official Guinness Fan Zone is coming to Manchester for the Six Nations
One of the biggest Guinness Fan Zones in the UK is coming to Manchester city centre for the Six Nations this February and the best part of all is, it’s absolutely free.
With the beloved rugby union tournament kicking off on Saturday, 4 February, Guinness are bringing their popular fan zone to our lovely city and just in time for the Wales vs Ireland game, not to mention England vs Scotland later the same day.
Popping up on Baring Street, Mayfield, just round the corner from Piccadilly Station, the Six Nations fan zone will be the biggest outside of London and runs all the way until Saturday 18 March.
Transformed into a dedicated space for rugby lovers to watch the match and enjoy a fresh pint of ice-cold Guinness, the fan zone festivities don’t stop there.
To keep the party rolling, they will also be hosting a series of interactive shows, activities and live performances, including bagpipes, Irish dancers and more. There’s even an interactive beer wall – the first one to be available outside of rugby union’s historic home at Twickenham.
Once again, general admissions tickets to the fan zone are absolutely free, but you can bag yourself a table reservation for £10 per person. Better still, for super fans, you can even grab an exclusive Season Pass for a limited time only, granting you access to all five games in the competition.
This includes a special edition team jersey, access to the best seats in the house and the first 150 customers will also get a Guinness Six Nations tote bag filled with beanies, cushions and foam fingers, even temporary tattoos and face paints for you to get your full colours on.
Last but not least, those who do grab a Season Pass will also be in with a chance to win one of Guinness’ exclusive ‘Money Can’t Buy Experiences‘, this year’s main prize being four tickets to a Six Nations match, a dressing room tour and being trusted with flag bearer duty before kick-off. Mint.
Russian supporters waving Putin flags and wearing ‘Z’ war symbols questioned by police at Australian Open
A number of Russian supporters attending the Australian Open were spotted waving pro-Putin flags and wearing ‘Z’ war symbols during Novak Djokovic’s match on Wednesday evening.
Spotted in the crowd whilst watching Djokovic’s quarter-final tie against Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev, the group of fans cheering on Rublev are now said to have been questioned by local police following the stunt as a further investigation is expected to be carried out.
The nine-time tournament winner might have seen off the world number six seed in straight sets to progress to the penultimate round of the major, but the controversy that the pro-war display has caused is understandably all anyone can focus on.
You can see a significant number of Russian fans chanting “Putin!” with their flags in the stands below, as well as another man clearly flaunting the ‘Z’ symbol — synonymous with the invasion of Ukraine.
According to a statement issued by Tennis Australia, four men were questioned by local authorities in Melbourne after they revealed their pro-Putin emblems and reportedly threatened security guards inside the Rod Laver Arena then they were asked to remove them.
Victoria Police have now confirmed that while charges were made, the group of supporters were quickly ejected, with Australian Open organisers reassuring that they will “continue to work closely with event security and law enforcement agencies.”
To make matters worse, Djokovic’s father, Srđan, was later seen posing with what appears to be the same group of fans and images of Vladimir Putin outside the stadium.
The Serbian has not long put his own controversy behind him after being deported from the country due to covid regulations and his anti-vax stance last year. This surely won’t help.
The Russian invasion has been an ongoing issue at the Open, with Russian and Belarusian players now having to compete under a neutral flag.
This comes after spectators had initially been allowed to bring any flag into the arena with them. However, following the incident, certain Russian flags are now prohibited and security guards have been provided with pamphlets in order for them to check for approved national emblems.
Elsewhere, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy was both surprised and relieved to find out that Germany has confirmed they will be sending Leopard 2 tanks to bolster his country’s defences, which he only learned whilst in the middle of an interview with Sky News’ Kay Burley.
We are now approaching a year since the Russian invasion began, with Putin’s campaign having run for 11 months and 3 days.