Manchester City's David Silva celebrates scoring against Leicester. Photo: Reuters / Jason Cairnduff

GRAN CANARIA, Spain – David Silva does not even hesitate as he considers what he would do if he finally lifted the European Cup, the one trophy that has eluded the masterful Spaniard.

"I’d retire. If I win the Champions League I’m retiring back here," he says, gesturing over his shoulder at the clear blue sky melting into the Atlantic, the pristine beaches in the distance and the palm trees dotted around the landscape. "It would be very special for me."

The Manchester City midfielder has returned to his home island in the Canaries — Gran Canaria — after a long and, he admits, disappointing season. One that began with so much promise when manager Pep Guardiola arrived last summer ended without any silverware and a tense fight for a Champions League place.

Considering the setting, as we sit on the penthouse balcony of the island’s Anfi Emerald Club hotel, 31-year-old Silva could be forgiven for seriously considering calling it quits if he were to fill that one empty spot in his trophy cabinet.

But after delivering the line deadpan, he dissolves into laughter. Fear not, City fans, Silva still has two years remaining on his contract and he is keen to extend it. Silva explains that he would, injury permitting and if City will have him, finish his career at the club where he has found most success.

"I’m very happy to be at City and I would like to continue there for as long as possible," he says. "It obviously depends on my health, my quality on the pitch and if the club want me to stay. I would like to be there until the end but the Premier League is such a hard league to play in, it is much more physical than somewhere like La Liga, so it depends."

Silva has won five cups in his seven years at City and to end the campaign without one, especially with Guardiola in charge, was a surprise.

"Since I was a regular in the team, this hasn’t been the best year because we haven’t won any trophies but we’re sure that next year it’s going to be better," Silva says.

"We did not win anything last season. The aim for the future is always to win titles, become champions of the Premier League and more. Guardiola is bringing players into the team and we need them."

When Guardiola arrived there seemed little scope for improvement in Silva, one of the league’s most refined players. But, says Silva, Guardiola managed to coax more from his game.

He told Silva that with his passing skill and vision he should not look up and seek team-mates any more, but in that fraction of a second he has on the ball identify and analyse the space they could reach that would enhance the attacking move; to manoeuvre his peers like a puppet master.

There are few people in the world who could show Silva how to pass a football better but Guardiola is one of them, as Silva has seen in training when his manager put his boots back on to demonstrate.

"He sees football. He feels football. And he is able to express this in words to his players," Silva says. "He is the best I have worked with. Sometimes he likes to get on the ball in training. He’s very, very good — he’s definitely not lost it!

"Guardiola has helped me so when I receive the ball I have space. The way Guardiola plays suits me, it enables me to get into space in attacking positions.

"The thing he does is he gets me to concentrate on seeing where I can put the ball. There is always some space to put it into. I am always trying to find those areas, it makes us attack better."

Silva grew up amid the mountainous landscape of Gran Canaria barely watching any English football at all, his dreams instead concentrated a shorter distance away on the Spanish La Liga.

He desperately tried to emulate Barcelona and Real Madrid forward Michael Laudrup as he kicked potatoes and oranges in the streets, then, as he grew older, footballs on the black volcanic sand of the beaches near to his family home.

"I watched Laudrup because he was a very easy player," Silva recalls. "It seemed very easy to play football the way he did it, which is what I wanted to do."

Playing in England did not even enter his mind as a youngster, yet since he made his City debut in August 2010 he has 64 assists to his name, more than any other player. Wayne Rooney is closest in that time frame with 51.

Silva, who considers a fine assist as beautiful as a sublime goal, leads City’s all-time list of goal providers, with more than twice as many as second-placed Samir Nasri. Unlike Rooney, who is the same age, Silva is showing no signs of waning and was picked in many pundits’ team of the year for last season.

Sportsmail columnist Jamie Carragher was one of those and described him as one of the best foreign players ever to join the league.

"When you play in the Premier League and you hear that one of those players who has been amazing for many years in England says that about you, it makes me proud of myself," Silva says.

It is for that reason he feels more like a footballing father figure every day, as Guardiola fills City’s team with young, vibrant attacking talent from all over the world: Gabriel Jesus, 20, Leroy Sane, 21, Raheem Sterling, 22, and the £43million signing Bernardo Silva, 22, who is thought to be an eventual replacement for his namesake.

"I feel that I have to help the younger players on the training ground and during matches, with the experience that I have," Silva says.

"They are incredibly talented but with my experience I try, if we are maybe struggling in a game, to calm down everybody so that something happens.

"When I have spent so many years in the team at City, all of the matches I have played for Spain, the things I have done in my career, when we have new players I feel it is my role to help them, to teach them new things."

Silva has so much footballing wisdom to impart, it would be a shame if he were to retire back to the island life just yet.

Daily Mail

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter