One day like Barca – an interview with David Silva

Getty

Getty

For David Silva there is little left to achieve in football. At 26 years of age the Manchester City playmaker is the x-factor in Roberto Mancini’s team and a star in a Spain constellation that is surely the brightest ever to light the international stage. He has won the World Cup and two European Championships, opening the scoring in this summer’s 4-0 demolition of Italy in the Euro 2012 final before being named in the tournament’s best XI by Uefa. And yet the Premier League’s most decorated player, as hungry as ever, believes retaining the title this season would rank alongside all those outstanding feats.

In person, David Josué Jiménez Silva seems even slighter than he does at a distance on the pitch. When we meet he is sporting a shaggy beard and offers a forthright view. On helping City in their attempt to become only the third club after Manchester United and Chelsea to claim consecutive Premier Leagues, Silva says: “It would be right up there with all the other big competitions that I’ve won. Winning the Premier League is seen as a big thing. It would be a great achievement to retain it. I’ve been lucky I’ve won a lot of medals but I’d still like to win more.”

Silva’s trophy count stands at the 2010 World Cup, the 2008 and 2012 European Championships, the FA Cup and Premier League, plus the 2004 European Under-19 Championship. But there will be no chance in this campaign of completing this glittering collection of major medals with the Champions League, after City were dumped from European football when finishing bottom of their group. “I can’t put my finger on what it was,” he says.

“All I can say is when I came to City they were looking to get in the top four, since then they have won the Premier League, the FA Cup, we have qualified for the Champions League and people can’t expect to win the Champions League straight away. We’ve got very good players and we will get there. I wish to win it with City but one step at a time.”

The big issue in City’s title defence has been too many draws – six to United’s none – with Sunday their first defeat. Silva says: “You can always improve, but each game has its own circumstances and I’m sure we will improve and get back to our normal self. Six points is a gap, it is a big gap. But last year we saw how they were in front by quite a lot of points [eight] and we won the league anyway. It can be done.”

City preceded the derby loss with the 1-0 Champions League reverse at Borussia Dortmund that confirmed there will not even be Europa League football at Eastlands in the new year and led to severe criticism of manager Roberto Mancini. Do the players think this is fair? “We’re responsible for what has happened,” he says. “The way we played in the Champions League – we all have to take the blame for that. It didn’t start well in the Champions League and it became an uphill task. But you can’t just blame the manager.”

Is Mancini still the man to move City forward? “All I would say is that since I joined City up to now we have made progress with Roberto. All there has been is progress.”

Silva was the player of the first half of last season, living up to the “Merlin” nickname he was given by Shaun Wright-Phillips shortly after he joined the club. But in a post-Christmas dip, his uneven performances were reflected in him managing only one more league goal that season, with his opener in the 5-0 rout of Aston Villa in November only a second of 2012. Mancini has said that the amount of football Silva has played is a factor in these fluctuations.

“It is true I have played a lot of games in the last three or four seasons with the European Championships and World Cup and league,” Silva says. “But you have to recover well after every game and just be there: that’s football and that’s the way it is.”

 …

Would, then, Silva one day like to return to play in Spain, where the game is considered less physically imposing? “I’m very happy at City at the moment,” he says. “I’ve no plans to move back but you never know what might happen in the future.” For now City need him: when he plays well, so does the team. The second half of the season could be his time.

Read Jamie Jackson’s article on the interview with David Sliva here on the Guardian’s website.

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