David Silva: It would be a failure if I didn't win the Champions League with City
Published 06/08/2015 | 02:30
It says everything about the success he has enjoyed during five years at Manchester City that David Silva approaches the season harbouring the hopes and ambitions that were once reserved for the star performers on the other side of town.
Much has changed in Manchester since Silva arrived at the Etihad Stadium from Valencia in the summer of 2010.
City have ended their lengthy wait for silverware with four trophies, including two Premier League titles, while United have gradually been eclipsed by their neighbours, to the point where only one club - City - are now being trumpeted as potential champions and Champions League contenders.
Silva insists that City are bracing themselves for United to be challengers again this season, but the Spaniard claims that the days of red looking down on blue have been consigned to history.
"United will be there for sure," Silva said. "They are attracting much better players and will be there challenging for sure. But we have been up there now for a few seasons, so United now have a lot more respect for us.
"When I came to City, it was different. Maybe that was not the case (that United showed respect).
"They, of course, have much more history, much more prestige, tradition. But now we have won trophies, we are making history, winning cups. We are making history and it is good to be part of that history.
"As a club, City now have much more prestige and we are getting better and better. We are just missing that step of winning the Champions League, but doing that will help us grow even more."
At 29, Silva has a medal haul which only the superstars of Real Madrid and Barcelona can surpass, with one World Cup and two European Championship winner's medals alongside two Premier League titles and wins in both the FA Cup and Capital One Cup.
The Champions League remains the itch that the midfielder has yet to scratch, with City's tale of woe in the competition compounded by successive pairings with Barcelona in the round of 16 over the past two seasons.
But with City adding the £49million England winger Raheem Sterling to their squad this summer, and efforts still ongoing to sign Wolfsburg midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, Silva is confident the club's wait for Champions League glory will end soon.
"I would see it as a failure (if I don't win the Champions League at City).
It is the one thing I want and one day I hope to win it," Silva said. "It's difficult playing against big teams like Barcelona, Bayern. But why? I cannot tell you.
"But with good, new players, for sure we will have an opportunity to be there fighting and maybe able to do it. Juventus reached the final last season, but they were really lucky with the draw. That is the way that the competition is, though."
Silva goes into the campaign having been given an extended summer break by City manager Manuel Pellegrini following a relentless schedule of football in which the player had gone four years without an uninterrupted closed season.
As a result, Silva spent over a month in his native Gran Canaria, where he helped promote the construction of a beach at the resort of Anfi Tauro, close to the fishing village of Arguineguin where he was raised.
While international commitments with Spain and pre-season tours with City appear to have done little to blunt his edge, Silva believes that the fatigue factor is exacerbated by playing in the Premier League.
"This time it was really necessary to have a real break," Silva said. "You need longer time to relax and let the body recover a lot more. I have had knee and ankle injuries in recent seasons, so it was time to listen to my body and of course, in England, when you get there, it's non-stop until the end. You don't have any break."
With four years left on his City contract, Silva is in no hurry to seek a return to Spain or leave Manchester.
While the likes of former City team-mate Alvaro Negredo or United's expensive misfit Angel Di Maria quickly pursued a move away from Manchester after struggling to adjust to life in the north of England, Silva has belied his upbringing in the Canary Islands by settling into Mancunian life. And although he dislikes the "cold and darkness" of English winters, Silva insists that the anonymity he enjoys comes freely in Manchester.
But when it ends at City, he admits he will have one remaining ambition to fulfil - a return home to play for Las Palmas, the team from his island which has just returned to La Liga for the first time in 14 years.
"Football is my passion and I live for it," Silva said. "In England, I do my job and I love my job. I would not complain about it. The only thing is the weather. It is dark, it's cold, it's raining, but it is football and I enjoy what I do. But it is my ultimate ambition to play for Las Palmas." (© Daily Telegraph, London)