Pep Guardiola and Manchester City showed their human and humane side in the sympathetic manner with which they treated David Silva over the premature birth of his son Mateo the Spanish star told The Daily Mirror.
Silva — who has become a City favourite for the role he has played in eight years at the club in winning three Premier League titles, three League Cups and an FA Cup — said those months of flying back and forth between England and Spain to spend time with Mateo were the “toughest of his life”.
Mateo was born extremely premature in December last year and Silva missed four games over the busy festive period as a result.
Silva said: “I have always been well treated by the club, but when Mateo was born prematurely I think it was the time when I realised just how much the club means to me.
“It was Christmas. It was the busiest part of the season and I knew Pep needed me to play.
“Yet Pep just said to me ‘look, there is nothing more important than your family. Take all the time you need to look after your son, your family and also yourself’.
“In the worst moment of my life, Pep and the people at City showed me the kind of love that you can only appreciate when you have been in that kind of crisis.”
The 32-year-old forward, capped over 100 times and a member of two Euro winning sides in 2008/12 and the 2010 World Cup winning team, said it was draining watching his son battling to stay alive.
“You just don’t expect to see your baby fighting for his life,” said Silva.
“Looking back you wonder how you coped. I relied on the strength of my girlfriend and my family — and also my team-mates and my club.
“Mateo was also a source of inspiration because of the way he fought.
“I was flying from England to Spain, trying to be with my son, trying to train, going back to Manchester to play for City.
“It goes without saying that the first few months after my son was born were the toughest of my life.”
Silva, who says he will see out the remaining two years of his contract and then look to play elsewhere but not in England partly due to “the rain”, says his son is improving but it is too early to say if there is any long term damage.
“It is too early to say all is well with Mateo, but the good news is that my son is getting stronger and stronger,” said Silva.
“He has to continue with medical tests every now and then, but at least we can think a little about the future.”