Ex-Spanish international David Silva has opened up about an extremely difficult period of his personal life earlier this year, during which, he said, football was his only “escape”.
In a heartfelt segment of an interview with BBC presenter and former England international Gary Lineker, the Manchester City midfielder spoke about coping through the second half of last season in England while is son Matteo, who was born prematurely, spent months in hospital in his native Spain.
“It was really tough,” said Silva, who retired from international football after the World Cup this summer.
“It was so difficult, him being in hospital for so long. Besides, he was in Spain, meaning I had to travel a lot and could hardly train. I didn’t sleep much, I wasn’t eating well. But luckily the team helped me a lot.”
"It was difficult. I didn't sleep much. I wasn't eating well."— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) 8 September 2018
David Silva reflects on a difficult year for his family after his son Mateo spent the first five months of his life in hospital.
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Football offered an escape
Lineker also brought up a similar experience with his first child, who was diagnosed with leukemia when he was two months old, and recalled that “football was the one place where I could escape.”
Similarly, Silva said football offered him a temporary escape from the anxiety he felt because of his ill young son’s situation.
“The only time I could get it out of my mind was when I was playing. Then I would start thinking about everything once the match was over. But yes it was a really good escape. Football was what we like and enjoy most,” he explained.
The Premier League’s greatest ever Spanish player
In a poll conducted by the BBC last Sunday, Silva was voted the Premier League's greatest ever Spanish player, earning 37 percent of the vote. Xabi Alonso came in second with 14 percent of the vote; Cesc Fabregas, third (13 percent); Fernando Torres, fourth (12 percent); and David de Gea, fifth (12 percent).
At the end of August, Silva was also named City’s best player over the last decade in a poll conducted by Manchester City’s Supporters Club to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of the club. The Spaniard topped the poll with 53 percent of the vote, ahead of Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Touré and Kevin De Bruyne.