David Silva’s 10-year stint at the Etihad is coming to an end, but not before the Champions League campaign draws to a close for Manchester City! The Spaniard has endured an incredible career in Manchester, playing 430 times, scoring 77 goals, and rounding up 140 assists, whilst he also won four Premier League trophies, two FA Cups, and five League Cups. However, the Champions League has agonisingly eluded the 34-year-old.
Silva made his last Premier League appearance in his side’s 5-0 win over relegated Norwich on the final weekend of the season. Although, whilst he and his teammates will undoubtedly be disheartened by the fact they finished a whopping 18 points behind Premier League champions Liverpool, they are still in pole position to win their first Champions League – according to the odds on the Champions League winner.
Pep Guardiola’s men – who are the joint-favourites at 3/1 to win Europe’s top-tier competition alongside German Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich – will host La Liga winners Real Madrid at the Etihad on August 7th – and the 2019/20 Carabao Cup winners have a firm grip on progressing to the quarter-finals after winning 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium pre-lockdown.
Due to Covid-19 drawing the season to a halt back in March, the remainder of the Champions League will now be held in Lisbon, as opposed to Istanbul, whilst the latter stages will be played across just one leg – instead of two.
So, should City see off Madid, they will go head-to-head with either Ligue 1 side Lyon or Italian giants Juventus – who lost the first leg 1-0 – in the quarter final, before facing either Napoli, Barcelona, Chelsea, or Bayern in the semi-final – meaning they will avoid RB Leipzig, Paris Saint-Germain, Atalanta, or Atlético Madrid until the final at Benfica’s Estádio da Luz.
However, the second leg against Zinedine Zidane’s side will be far from straight forward, even though they hold the advantage. When La liga resumed mid-June, Madrid went on an impressive winning streak of 10 successive games, only dropping points in a draw against Leganes after the league was wrapped up.
Although, in City’s defence, they ended their respective league campaign in fine form, as well. Winning five games on the bounce – the most wins they’ve put together successively all season – whilst they scored a jaw-dropping 21 goals in that time, including three 5-0 victories.
Kevin De Bruyne, who matched Thierry Henry’s Premier League assist record of 14 in the victory over the Canaries, admitted that winning the Champions League trophy would be the perfect send off for Silva.
“He’s going to be a big miss. That’s why you get young players in and learn from him. I did that myself, and hopefully we can end the season well for him. It would be great if we would win the Champions League so he can go in this way,” the Belgian said.
But, with just four games standing between Man City and European glory, will Guardiola’s side be able to give the Spanish midfielder the final medal missing from his trophy cabinet?