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Why David Silva chose Man City instead of joining Real Madrid

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Manchester City legend David Silva has revealed that he chose to join the club over Real Madrid because of the faith the English side showed in him and their absolute determination to sign him.

Having made his name at Valencia and as part of Span's Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup-winning squads, a 24-year-old Silva was hot property by the time he was on the market following the latter.

City, still just a fledgling project compared to the trophy-winning juggernaut of 2023, beat Madrid to the punch. Pep Guardiola has also confirmed he admired Silva during his days as Barcelona boss.

Asked in a new interview with AS why he chose City and turned down Madrid "several" times, Silva revealed that he was taken with just how much he was wanted at the Etihad Stadium.

"First because they bet very hard on me," he said. "I felt their trust and support from the first call. Then because in those conversations they already told me that the project was going to be what it finally was. The ambition was to become one of the greats of Europe and today it is.

"With great enthusiasm and commitment," the retired star summarised his time at City, "...because I feel a participant in that growth, as do all the Footballers with whom I have shared a locker room there. I would tell you that the expectations are even higher than those I had when I arrived."


Man City were unrecognisable in 2010 when David Silva arrived
Man City were unrecognisable in 2010 when David Silva arrived / Clint Hughes/GettyImages
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When Silva joined nouveau riche City, the club hadn't won a trophy for 34 years – a fact they were joyfully reminded of constantly by Manchester United fans across town, and hadn't played in the Champions League or its old equivalent since a shock European Cup first round exit in 1968.

But the Spaniard had a crucial part in the early development that resulted in an FA Cup triumph and top three Premier League finish in his first season, followed by the league title in 2012. Silva was at his absolute vintage during Guardiola's first two title-winning seasons, before deciding to leave in 2020, aged 34, at the end of his tenth season in Manchester. In many ways, the modern Manchester City was built on the shoulders of he and a select few others like Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero.

Silva returned to Spain to join Real Sociedad, rejecting alternative offers in the process. His time in San Sebastian coincided with the club's return to major prominence and a first top four finish in a decade last season to qualify for the Champions League again. But in the summer of 2023, an ACL tear prompted a 37-year-old Silva to immediately hang up his boots rather than put himself through a long-term recovery programme. He never did play for Real Madrid.

Silva had first been courted by Madrid as a child growing up on the island of Gran Canaria.

"I visited Real Madrid as a young player, but my father was against a move to Madrid when I was so young," Silva revealed in 2020 documentary made about him by Manchester City.

"He told them they would have to monitor me for my home team, San Fernando, in Gran Canaria. After that, I did not go back again. They would call year after year, but I would not go. I stayed with my home team, and then moved on to Valencia [aged 14]."


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