Pep Guardiola claims Manchester City’s outstanding playmaker David Silva can still get better.
Spain midfielder Silva clocked up the 300th appearance of a superb City career in Saturday’s Premier League victory over Hull.
The 31-year-old renowned for his vision and incisive passing has won five trophies since joining City in a £26million move from Valencia in 2010.
Many regard him as one of the greatest players in the club’s history and manager Guardiola, who worked with two other fine midfielders in Xavi and Andres Iniesta at Barcelona, thinks the best is yet to come.
Guardiola said: “When I say I’m a lucky guy, it’s because I was with Xavi, Iniesta and now with Silva. All three are outstanding players.
“Silva impresses me every day. To make 300 games is not easy. It’s just a big congratulations to him. He’s been a big success and hopefully he can play lots more games here in Manchester.
“Hopefully we can make him become a better player. I would like to feel that what he has done is not enough, and he can believe he can do better for his own career.”
To become an even greater player, Guardiola recognises Silva, who also has 111 international caps, probably needs to add more goals to his game.
For all his attacking brilliance, the man nicknamed ‘Merlin’ has a relatively underwhelming goalscoring record with just 49 City strikes to his name.
Guardiola said: “Always I said he had to score goals because if Silva scores goals he would have been. you cannot imagine because he has absolutely everything – the mentality, a competitor, everything.”
Guardiola won two Champions League and three LaLiga titles while in charge at Barcelona and he believes Silva would have fitted perfectly into that side with the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Lionel Messi.
“I remember when I was in Barcelona,” Guardiola said. “The first or second year I was there, Unai Emery, who is now the PSG trainer, was there (at Valencia).
“After the game we spoke about that and he told me, ‘David Silva is the player for you, for Barcelona. Believe me, that is a player for Barcelona by far’. And he was so right, he’s a special player.”
A move to the Nou Camp never materialised however because Silva was “so expensive”.
Silva goes about his business in an understated way and rarely seems to get mentioned in terms of individual awards.
But Guardiola said: “He has something more special than awards. Awards are to put in the wardrobe.
“The opinion we will have in the future about his career will not be about how many individual prizes he has won. It will be about the opinion of his team-mates and his managers.”
One of those team-mates, midfielder Yaya Toure, said: “We appreciate him here. We are all delighted with him and happy to play with him.
“He’s a player with full confidence and great experience. When we play we need this kind of player just to control the games and be clever.
“Silva is such an important player for this club and I think we are fully delighted with him.”