Malta Independent

A family affair: David Silva service resumes at Manchester City

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David Silva took to the field with his baby boy, Mateo, and cradled him in his arms as the Manchester City team lined up before kickoff.

It was a touching scene - and a rare one before a Premier League game - involving a father and son who, in their own very different ways, have written their own chapters in City’s recent history.

The dad, a creative Spanish playmaker who is arguably the greatest player in City’s 138-year history, has been a popular member of the squad since his arrival from Valencia in 2010 but his bond with the club has grown even stronger because of the premature birth of Mateo in December.

City granted Silva compassion­ate leave for various spells during the second half of last season so he could return to Spain to be with his partner and Mateo in hospital.

Silva missed key games in what proved to be a record-breaking season for City but coach Pep Guardiola repeatedly expressed the “family comes first” mantra. In a recently released behind-the-scenes documentar­y of City’s season, when a TV crew was given virtually unlimited access to the City squad, Guardiola said to his players before one game: “You have to win for David Silva and his girlfriend ... If you go out there and we suffer, then suffer for him. Is that clear?”

Silva used Twitter to publicly thank City for its support in what he described as “the hardest months of my life,” so the sight of Mateo on the Etihad Stadium field before Sunday’s game against Huddersfie­ld was heartwarmi­ng.

His father proceeded to put on a show for Mateo, tormenting Huddersfie­ld’s defence and capping a brilliant performanc­e in a 6-1 win with a curling free kick into the top corner. Looked after by his mother in a VIP box during the game, the 9-month-old Mateo was in the locker-room afterward, surrounded by City’s jubilant players for photos that were quickly posted on social media.

“His son will never forget,” Guardiola said, “that the first time he saw his father play football, he scored that outstandin­g goal.”

“El Mago” (the Magician), as Silva is known, is 32 now but continues to be a key member of City’s team. His importance has soared in recent days because of an injury to fellow playmaker Kevin De Bruyne that could rule him out for around two months.

 ??  ?? Manchester City’s David Silva carries a child believed to be his son during the match against Huddersfie­ld Town
Manchester City’s David Silva carries a child believed to be his son during the match against Huddersfie­ld Town

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