David Silva will leave Manchester City at the end of the season after deciding to call time on a glittering 10-year career at the Etihad.
Silva has told City that he will not extend his contract when it expires next summer, signalling the departure of one of the greatest players of the Premier League era.
The 33-year-old has been at the forefront of City’s rise to dominance since signing from Valencia for £26million in 2010, winning four league titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups.
‘This is the last one,’ he said. ‘Ten years for me is enough. It’s the perfect time.
‘Initially the club were talking about two years (contract) but I decided to sign another one so I finished at 10 years.
‘It completes the cycle. It’s a nice round figure. I can never see myself playing against City for another team. So 10 years — that’s it!’
Despite winning a domestic Treble last season, the Champions League has eluded Silva. He admits that lifting Europe’s greatest club prize would be the ‘perfect’ way to say farewell.
‘We haven’t been able to achieve that goal yet of winning the Champions League but if every year is like last season I would sign for it right now,’ he added.
‘When I was a kid, I never thought I would achieve everything I have done so I’m more than happy with what I have achieved in my 10 years at City.
‘The respect people have shown me and the way people in Manchester have treated me has been unbelievable. That’s what I really like, the recognition they have given me.’
Silva is keen to enjoy more time with his partner Jessica and their baby son Mateo who won his fight for life after being born prematurely in December 2017.
‘I’ve got a family now and it’s about priorities,’ he added. ‘I want to spend more time with the family. I’ve got another year at Manchester City so we will see what happens after that.’
A World Cup and two-time European Championship winner with Spain, Silva has spoken of a desire to end his career at home in Gran Canaria with Las Palmas but admits that may now be difficult because the club were relegated from La Liga last year. He has also been linked with moves to China and, more recently, Qatar.
‘Not China,’ said Silva yesterday in his role as a spokesman for Anfi Group close to his hometown of Arguineguin. ‘I don’t know. My girlfriend decides for me!
‘I would love to finish my career here in Las Palmas but football changes. Who knows? It depends on the team and the players. I cannot come here to play in the Second Division with this team.’
Silva has earned the nickname ‘Merlin’ for the magic he has produced on the pitch in a City career that so far totals 396 appearances, 71 goals and 129 assists.
Following Vincent Kompany’s move into management at Anderlecht, Silva’s departure will leave just Sergio Aguero from the team that won the Premier League title in 2012.
However, he believes City have planned ahead wisely enough to make sure the changes will not hit the back-to-back champions too hard.
‘Vinny was an excellent warrior for Manchester City and it’s going to be very difficult to replace a player like him on the pitch and off it,’ said Silva. ‘But with the new generation we will find another one, another Vinny. They deserve that.
‘What they are trying to do is to fight for the league and continue to be the top team in England. Year by year, buying players strategically in different positions and making an unbeatable team.’
Silva sees a ready-made successor for himself in England Under 21 star Phil Foden who will be given more playing time next season as he is prepares to step into his teammate’s shoes.
‘I’m sure that he’s going to be a fantastic player and a very good successor to me in the team,’ said Silva. ‘I’ve given him lots of advice. He’s taken the information in and he’s getting better day by day.
‘He reminds me of myself when I was young, especially how he is as a person. He’s very quiet but always there competing. He hates losing and that makes a good footballer.’
David Silva was speaking as an ambassador for Anfi Group resorts in Gran Canaria where he hosted a press conference to raise awareness about gender violence. https://vimeo.com/anfigroup/stopviolencia