Manchester City legend David Silva has been one of the Premier League’s greatest ever foreign imports.
The Spaniard has enjoyed 10 successful years on these shores and will play in his final league game for City against Norwich this weekend.
As one of the modern-day great midfielders of the Premier League era prepares to bow out, Sportsmail’s columnists Jamie Redknapp, Martin Keown and Chris Sutton reflect on the emotion of playing their final games.
This wasn’t the best way to bow out as Southampton’s 27-year stay in the top flight came to an end. I played the full 90 and it felt like someone was sticking a knife in my knee. Deep down I suspected this was going to be my final game.
I was only 31 but my knee was in such a state. Nevertheless, I was desperate to help Southampton. How could I let this club get relegated without giving my all?
So I had an injection and committed to playing through the pain. But looking back, I shouldn’t have.
My dad was asked a month later about me retiring and told reporters I had to stop or I might lose the ability to walk. That’s how bad it was. It was a sad farewell to football for me.
It’s rare for a player to get to say goodbye the way he’d like. My last hurrah came in an Aston Villa shirt against a Manchester United side who went on to win the title.
We lost 3-0, Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice and Paul Scholes scored that thunderous volley. This was in December and I’d only signed in October after an SOS call from Martin O’Neill.
I was 33. But an elbow from Nemanja Vidic caught me in my right eye and it ended my career.
There was nothing malicious in it and I’d had problems with my eyesight before but this brought back the blurred vision. I spoke to the doctors and that was it. It was far from the perfect ending.
I’d had the perfect send-off at Arsenal. Aged 37, my last competitive game under Arsene Wenger was a 2-1 win over Leicester at Highbury in May 2004, the final fixture of our Invincibles season. On the way, the gaffer pulled me to the front of the coach.
Wenger said some nice words and told the players this would be my final match. Two days later was my testimonial. I didn’t feel ready to retire so I joined Leicester for half a season, then moved to Reading.
My final match was against Wolves in the Championship. There was no great fanfare or send-off. I’d had all that at Arsenal. It was just another game.
‘When I look back at everything I have achieved, I could never have imagined it, even in my wildest dreams. I just want to say thank you to all the supporters, to the club, to the workers here at the club, because they have made my life much easier and I am grateful for that. I will be blue — blue for ever.’