On 8 January 1986, in the small village of Arguineguín, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain, a boy was born. A boy who 30 years from then would be known all over the world for his beautiful ability on the ball and for paving an amazing career in football. A legend in his own right, yet criminally underrated. One of the finest attacking midfielders of his generation, this article is a tribute to the phenomenon known as David Josué Jiménez Silva.
Silva was born to Fernando Jiménez and Eva Silva in Spain. His interest in football was nurtured right from a young age. He began his career as a goalkeeper (shocking, right?) in the youth team of UD San Fernando, but later transitioned into a winger following in the footsteps of his idol, Michael Laudrup. His professional career began at the age of 14 when he got an offer from the Valencia youth academy, in which he stayed till he was 17.
Silva made his professional debut in 2004-05 for Eibar after being sent on loan by Valencia. In his earlier years as a player, Silva played majorly at the wing instead of his famed attacking mid position. The following season he went on loan to Celta Vigo where he flourished as well. After his successful loan spells, he returned to Valencia in 2006 and become a first-team starter instantly. In his four year career at Valencia from 2006 to 2010, Silva grew into a prolific winger who could make an impact on the game. He also secured his first club trophy with Valencia by winning the Copa Del Rey in 2008.
Ever since being a regular to the Spain team since his debut in 2006, Silva made his presence felt in a team of superstars like Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas etc. He played a major role in Spain’s run of international glory from 2008 to 2012. In 2008, Silva helped Spain win the Euros at a meagre age of 22. In 2010, he won the World Cup with Spain by being his usual best. At such a young age, Silva had already won what most players aspire to achieve in their whole career.
In the summer transfer window of 2010, Silva secured a move to Man City, a club still rebuilding after their takeover. When he joined the club, no one had expected him to become such an important part of the City team as well as the City’s legacy. Mancini played Silva in his traditional winger role but soon transformed him into a trequartista. What followed was a decade of brilliance and attacking prowess. Silva helped City to their first trophy since 1975, the FA Cup. This ended City’s trophy drought and kick-started their willpower to compete for more trophies. Within his first season, he also helped City secure Champions League qualification. And ever since then City have qualified for Europe every year.
In the coming seasons, Silva was polished and developed into one of the finest attacking midfielders the Premier League had seen. His phenomenal ability to dictate the game helped City to their first Premier League title in 2012, after the infamous AGUEROOOOO goal. He also finished with the highest assists, 15, in that season. Such was his calibre, he had the ability to turn the game on its head.
In 2012, Silva carried Spain to their third consecutive international trophy. The Euros 2012 were the ones where Silva made it known to the world what his capabilities were. He finished as the highest assist provider (3) and the player with the highest goal contributions. He was also included in the team of the tournament.
Since their FA Cup win, the club kept getting better and better and the trophies kept coming. Silva became an integral cog in the City team with his impeccable dribbling and vision. He won the Premier League again with City in 2013-14 along with the League Cup. The club’s rebuilding was finished and then came Pep Guardiola. The tactical genius who won the sextuple with Barcelona. With his arrival, Man City steamrolled to the top. He developed Silva into an amazing and pivotal player. In his regime, City has won 3 Premier Leagues, 4 Carabao Cups and 1 FA Cup. With trophies raining all around, numerous records were broken. Winning streaks, clean sheets, the first side to retain the PL after 10 years, the only top-flight team in England to win the league with 100 points. The list is unending. The midfield partnership of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne was an assist machine. Two of the greatest playmakers in the PL combined to run the well-oiled machine created by Guardiola.
Silva retired from international football in 2018 after the world cup with 125 apps and 35 goals and 32 assists to his name. Following his retirement, Silva drew plaudits from many of his former teammates, being described as “one of the best” and “one of the most talented players Spain has ever produced, without a shadow of a doubt” by midfield partners Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez. Vicente del Bosque, who led Spain to the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 titles, even went as far as to declare Silva “Spain’s Lionel Messi”.
Silva wrote his name in the book of City’s legends with his beautiful style of play, the permanent smile on his face and the work he had done for this team to build it from the ground up and help it reach the pinnacle of football where it stands now. He left Man City in 2020 for Real Sociedad to return home and stay close to his family in the twilight of his career. The boy from Gran Canaria returned to his country as a legend for club and country with a statue of him created in his honour outside the Etihad Stadium.