He turns 30 next month and yearns to retire with a spell at Las Palmas, but David Silva is desperate to finish his Manchester City career with a flourish.
Having signed a deal to tie him to the Etihad outfit until 2019, he is eager to add to a trophy haul that already includes two Premier League titles, FA Cup and League Cup triumphs, and a World Cup and two European Championships with Spain.
Where prize-winning players are constantly questioned about maintaining their hunger for more honours, Silva has no such uncertainty as he leads City’s challenge in four competitions and Spain’s bid for an unprecedented hat-trick of Euros.
“For me it’s not difficult because I want to win, win and win,” he says. “I don’t know what happens with other players and what’s in the head of other players.
“But for me, it’s just winning. One day this will all end – and all I want to do is win. The day I don’t feel that I don’t want to win, then I finish. My aim for 2016 is to win, to win titles.
“It’s going to be difficult [at the Euros] because winning three on the bounce is practically impossible. But we said that about winning two consecutively and we did it, so we will try to give everything to win it.
“We didn’t win anything last year with City, but the year before we won two trophies. If you ask me what I prefer, I prefer the Champions League because it is the only trophy I haven’t won in my career.
“Of course it’s better [to have Dynamo Kiev in the last 16]. We got drawn last time with Barcelona and they are a very good team and win all the titles.
“If they don’t win it, they are always in there with a chance of winning it. But if you want to be champions you have to beat everybody and that includes them.
“I have won the Premier League twice. But, then, when you think about it, we play the Premier League every week and it is the first title, the one we all want to win.”
City are contenders, sitting third, six points behind Leicester, before their visit to second-placed Arsenal on Monday night.
But injuries to key men like Sergio Aguero, captain Vincent Kompany and Silva himself, have disrupted their rhythm this season.
Speculation is also rife about the future of manager Manuel Pellegrini with Pep Guardiola tipped to replace him now that he has confirmed his departure from Bayern Munich next summer.
But Silva added: “We look at it day-to-day and not what is going to happen. We are all very happy with Manuel and it’s not something that I look at.
“It has been complicated for us with injuries and hopefully when we get everyone back fit, we will improve.
“Aguero is a fantastic player and gives you things that others don’t. But the reality is that people get injured and guys come in and have to fulfil that role.
“The first one I’ve been impressed with [this season] is Raheem Sterling. He’s technically very gifted and he’s got a lot more to come. He’s going to make history.
“He has just turned 21 so he is going to improve and get more experience and read the games a lot better. He has got a lot more to prove how good he is.”
Silva has also been impressed with Leicester duo Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez and, while he admits the high-flying Foxes – who host City on December 29 – could upset the favourites, he believes Arsenal pose their biggest threat.
The Gunners have not won the title since 2004, but Silva has been impressed by their style and a superb 3-0 win at Olympiakos that secured an unlikely place in the last 16 of the Champions League.
“Yes, I think so,” he added on whether Arsenal were now mentally ready to be champions. “They have some injuries as well and when they get those players back they will be strong as well. Yes, I think they will challenge, they have everything they need.
“Clearly Arsenal are a team, you can see with the players they’ve got there, and they got a fantastic result in Greece that proves they can turn it around as well.
“The way I play football, yes you always feel attracted to teams that play the way you play. If we don’t win it (the title) and Arsenal do, it would be good – but we’re here to win it.
“Arsenal are clearly a very strong team, but Leicester are playing very well, so both really are direct rivals.
“You can’t discount Leicester because they are playing very well. They are confident and winning their games. We are seeing that unless you are 100 per cent you can lose a game and the intensity and the fact that everyone is able to win makes the league very, very interesting.”
Silva will relish the Emirates clash that he does not feel is a “title decider” at this point, and also trying to upstage Mesut Ozil, whose dazzling displays are a key factor in Arsenal’s optimism.
“We are both midfielders, both left-footed and we thrive on assists,” he smiles as he discusses comparisons with the German playmaker. “We have a lot of similarities, yes. You always need time to adapt when you come here to a new league, but at this level you have to adapt very quickly.
“He’s a good player and found it easier than other players to adapt. He is doing a very good job this year. It takes time to get there, and he’s getting there.
“In the beginning it took me about two months to adapt. But since then I’m getting better and better and things are going so well.”
Like Ozil, Silva was deemed too lightweight in the more physical environment of English football following his £26 million move from Valencia in 2010.
But the man they call ‘Merlin’ at City was never concerned about fitting in, nor succeeding. “I never had those thoughts, I always knew I was going to be OK,” he said.
“You have to remember that I came from playing at the World Cup, I didn’t have much time to train. I arrived on the Saturday, trained on the Friday and played on theSaturday. So the beginning was tough, but I never had any doubts.”
Nor are there doubts about ankle injuries that have sidelined Silva, including two months of this campaign, although he admitted: “I have to look after them because both of them have been damaged over the years in football. But when you get on the pitch you don’t think something might or might not happen.
“At the moment they are fine. In the past there have been games where I have played where I have had injections.
“Two years when we won the league I played months with pain and had to have injections. But that’s something you have to do for the team and have to do for the club.”
It is clear he loves City life and added: “I’ve always said that I’m very happy here and I want to see out my contract. If I return to Spain I would return to play at Las Palmas, the club from my home and I would like to finish there. But when I finish, I don’t look at that time with any fear whatsoever.”
Fearless and flamboyant, City fans will be happy to enjoy more Silva service until he says adios.
*** Anfi Ambassador David Silva was unveiled as a ‘Secret Santa’ in Manchester City centre this week, giving out christmas gift holidays to surprised local residents. Anfi is a five-star resort in Gran Canaria. For more information www.anfi.com
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