David Silva has joined Spanish side Real Sociedad next season after leaving Manchester City this week.
The 34-year-old was strongly linked with a move to Italy, with title challengers Lazio deemed as the favourites to land his signature.
But Sociedad announced that Silva has signed a two-year deal with them instead. He will wear the 21 shirt for the La Liga side – the same number he wore at City.
Lazio were increasingly confident in signing the midfielder, but the Serie A club were reportedly concerned about the deal being completed as Silva was not answering their phone calls.
Star striker Ciro Immobile was convinced the Spaniard was coming to the Stadio Olimpico, saying last week: ‘Great player and great experience, we are waiting for him with open arms.
‘I can’t wait for him to arrive, before Lazio players we are Lazio fans.’
But the playmaker has opted to move back to Spain, where he has not played since his time at Valencia 10 years ago.
Silva will come in as a replacement for former Sociedad attacker Martin Odegaard, who has now returned to parent club Real Madrid after a successful loan spell.
The Norwegian scored seven goals in 36 appearances for the Basque club but Silva’s arrival will do some help in filling the void for Sociedad.
Silva spent a decade at the Etihad Stadium, making over 400 appearances for the Premier League side, winning 14 trophies in the blue half of Manchester.
He wrote a touching farewell message to City and its supporters on Monday afternoon.
The end of the statement read: ‘I hope that City will achieve even bigger triumphs in the future. I am going to support the team from a distance.
‘I am so happy to have shared these unforgettable moments with the City family – you will always be in my heart.’
City also confirmed on Monday that Silva will be receiving a statue outside the Etihad Stadium for his 10 years of service at the club.