David Silva says joining Manchester City eight years ago was “one of the best decisions” of his life, despite interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid at the time.
The Spain midfielder, then 24, was signed from Valencia in July 2010.
Silva accepts it is a dream for most Spanish footballers to play for Barca or Real, but says the strength of City’s interest that proved decisive.
“City wanted me,” he says in an interview for the Premier League Show.
“They had been calling me since December, asking me to come and play for them.
“I thought, ‘who wants me? City want me, so that’s where I’ll go’.
“Back then I was living with my parents and they were getting divorced and it was the right time to get away from there, from Spain, and live a new experience. It turns out I made the right move.”
In a rare and wide-ranging interview with Gary Lineker, which you can watch on Thursday at 22:00 BST on BBC Two and the BBC Sport website and app, Silva also talks about:
Silva has helped City win the Premier League three times, but it was the FA Cup win in 2011 that is the highlight of his club career so far.
City beat Stoke 1-0 at Wembley, allowing Silva – also a World Cup and two-time European Championship winner – to lift the first of the seven major trophies he has won at the club.
“That was the turning point for success,” he said.
“Once you win, you get used to winning and that’s not a bad thing. The same has happened in the Spanish national team – winning the first title was a game-changer and we carried on winning. So the FA Cup was a real highlight.”
‘Football helped me through tough moment’
While Silva has enjoyed plenty of success at City, his time at the club has not been without challenges.
Last December, Silva’s son Mateo was born prematurely. The 32-year-old would spend the next five months travelling between Manchester and the hospital in Spain where his child was being cared for.
“It was really tough,” Silva added.
“It was so difficult with him being in hospital for so long. You don’t stop thinking about it all the time. Besides, he was in Spain, meaning I had to travel a lot and I could hardly train. I didn’t sleep much, I wasn’t eating well. But, luckily, the team was doing really well and that helped me a lot.
“I’ve said it before that the only times I could get it out of my mind was playing in matches. Then I would start thinking about everything once the match was over. But yes, it was a really good get-out. Football is what we like and enjoy most.
“Now he’s doing fine and really everything was worth it. He suffered a lot but now he’s growing up really fast.”
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