The man they call El Mago is leaving Manchester City after a decade of glittering brilliance, which has illuminated not just The Etihad, but the Premier League as a whole.
David Silva is taking his wonderful talents back home to Spain, signing a two year contract with Real Sociedad, and the Premier League’s loss will be La Liga’s gain. It will indeed be a loss, Silva is one of the finest players to ever grace the English game. A wonderfully gifted playmaker with a grace to his game that is rarely seen.
Picture David Silva picking the ball up on the half-turn, gliding past his man, beating another with a subtle feint and then sliding the perfectly weighted pass between two defenders for Sergio Aguero to run on to. It’s easy to picture because we’ve seen it so many times. For a decade, David Silva has turned football into an art form on Premier League pitches up on and down the country.
Along with Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero, Silva has been part of the core group in the greatest era in Manchester City’s history. Four league titles, two FA Cups and five League Cups in ten years. For a club who’d won only two league titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups in the previous 114 years of their history as Manchester City. Not even the most overly-excitable City fan could have imagined so much success back when City signed Silva and Toure within the space of a couple of days in the summer of 2010.
Silva becomes the third of that quadrant to leave in successive years, Toure in 2018 and Kompany in 2019 preceded him through the exit door, and City have announced they will build a statue in honour of him. Kompany will be similarly honoured, and there is somewhat of a ground swell among the City fanbase to have a proper statue of Toure built too.
Fans of rival clubs, in the usual tribalistic manner, have begun to ridicule this news. It’s really hard to know what argument they’re trying to make against it. Maybe their clubs haven’t built statues of their legends? Is that really an argument?
Manchester United have a statue of George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton outside Old Trafford. Does anyone argue that those players deserved the honour?
Liverpool named a stand after Kenny Dalglish and should in truth have statues of Ian Rush, John Barnes and Steven Gerrard located somewhere at Anfield.
Arsenal built statues of Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry outside the Emirates. Ian Wright and Patrick Vieira should really be similarly honoured.
Everton have a statue of Dixie Dean.
Billy Wright at Wolves, Johnny Hayes at Fulham, Bobby Moore at West Ham, George Hardwick and Wilf Mannion at Middlesbrough, Stan Mortensen at Blackpool, Jackie Milburn at Newcastle and more.
Plenty of clubs have honoured their legends. Why shouldn’t City?
Silva, Kompany and Aguero have all won just as many league titles, and more cups, as any player currently honoured with a statue at Old Trafford and the Emirates. Why shouldn’t they have statues?
Is it because it’s so recent? Possibly.
Maybe it’s because it’s City, it’s the oil money and tribalism won’t allow people to truly appreciate brilliance.
But if City want to thank players who’ve given them amazing service, performed at a world class level for a decade and brought the greatest era of success their club has ever seen, with a statue immediately, that’s absolutely their right.
The problem really isn’t that City are building these statues, the bigger problem is that not enough clubs do it.
Chelsea, when they build their new stadium, should be building statues for John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.
Manchester United should be adding statues of Cantona, Schmeichel, Giggs, Scholes and Keane to the exterior of Old Trafford.
Clubs should do more to honour their legends. No matter who your club is, you have legends who are deserving of being honoured.
City have Silva, Aguero, Kompany and Toure who deserve it. Allow it. Focus on your own. And just remember how often, as a neutral, you sat to watch Manchester City play a team that wasn’t your own, and marveled at the brilliance of those players. You’ve definitely wished to have David Silva in your team, you’re lying if you say otherwise.
Appreciate brilliance, and embrace the practice of honouring legends.