David Silva reflects on glittering Man City spell with typical modesty ahead of farewell game

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He is known as ‘El Mago’, a masterful magician who has cast a spell over the Premier League for the past decade.

But Sunday marks the end of an era for David Silva, who will make his final Premier League appearance for Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Over the past 10 years, Silva’s majesty on the pitch and ­humility off it has earned him the unequivocal status of City and Premier League legend.

He is the reluctant superstar who shuns the limelight, ­preferring to let his football speak for him, in an age when many players see themselves as brands to relentlessly promote through social media.

In that sense, Silva is a throwback to a more traditional era and, ahead of his final league ­appearance, replied with typical modesty when asked how he would like to be remembered.

“As a good guy,” said Silva. “As a good guy that ­enjoys football. I hope the people enjoyed my football as well.

“I’ve always tried to do my ­absolute best, to always behave well and I’ve tried to work very hard, too.

“On the pitch I try to have fun, knowing I’m at an age now where I’m going to play less and less.

“I try to enjoy myself and work hard right until the end of the game. I think that with hard work, you can play for a long time at a good level.”

When Silva, 34, arrived from Valencia in 2010 for £25million, he was already a World Cup ­winner with Spain, but admitted he had to prove himself again in his new environment.

“It was a change in country, league, language and everything was quite tough,” recalled Silva.

“But my team-mates ­welcomed me, really looked after me and after a few months I ­settled in.

“When I arrived after the World Cup, I wasn’t in my best physical shape, but slowly but surely I got up to speed.

“They had told us that we had a project and it was to win ­trophies. Then, in my first year, we won the FA Cup.

“The rest is history – we made it happen.”

Four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and five League Cups are ­testimony to Silva’s glittering success at City, but his time with the Blues has not always been easy.

The premature birth of his son, Mateo, in 2017, took a huge emotional toll, while a persistent ankle injury, a legacy of being kicked by opponents too slow to cope with his quick feet and brain, has also blighted his ­career.

“Injuries stop your career path and make you unhappy because you want to play,” said Silva. “I think this has been the main challenge. There were moments when my ankle was really bad, I had to have an injection before I played and then eventually couldn’t carry on – and it was so frustrating.

“But in the end, everything has been worth it, everything has gone so well for me and I have been able to help the team.

“When you’re young, you don’t dream about all of this. You dream about ­becoming a professional ­footballer, you dream of playing in the top flight. But you never think about all the things that you could possibly achieve.

“Now, when I look back at everything I’ve achieved, I could never have imagined it – even in my wildest dreams.”

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