David Silva is one happy man. The Spain playmaker has just achieved what many players can only dream of: winning a major championship and scoring a goal in the final. If that were not impressive enough, yesterday’s UEFA EURO crown comes on top of his triumph at 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ and an unforgettable Premier League title win with Manchester City last season.
This native of Gran Canaria would seem to have the world at his feet, yet just moments after Spain’s historic 4-0 win over Italy in Kiev, he made time for an exclusive chat with FIFA.com. Congenial and good humoured, he spoke of his immediate reaction to the triumph as well as the goals and challenges of the season ahead.
FIFA.com: David, what an unforgettable experience that must have been. You’ve won EURO 2012 and scored a goal in the final. What more could you ask for?
David Silva: Not a lot really. I was fortunate enough to grab our first goal, which helped pave the way and give us more options. We knew it was vital to score first and really focused on that before the game. That’s why we came out of the blocks as attack-minded as possible, and luckily we managed it.
Perhaps Spain’s smallest player scoring with a header…
Ah no, don’t tell me I’m the shortest (laughs). But yes I timed it just right. I saw the play develop and felt I should hold back a tad for Cesc’s cross. And that’s exactly how it played out. It happened in a flash but just as I’d anticipated.
The night was also an unqualified success for Spain.
Absolutely. Finals are generally very tight affairs, often settled by a single goal or a tiny detail. We know very well it’s not easy to win a game like that by such a big margin, and I think that’s one of the reasons we’re so thrilled. Our effort was amply rewarded, and that’s not something you see too often in football.
Was playing against a more open team like Italy easier than an ultra-defensive opponent?
Yes, in truth that made it easier. When we play against more defensive sides, it’s harder work, and we know we’re going to have to endure and be patient. Tonight we knew Italy would attack us, not just because of their style, but because in a final you can’t just protect what you have; you must try to win. That was something we were aware of.
Was it significant that you’d faced Italy already in the tournament, and what changed from one game to the other?
That was our first group game and at that stage teams tend to keep a bit more in reserve. I also think they were a bit more defensive on that occasion. Something very important for us is the pitch, which was much faster and shorter today. That’s vital for our style of play so that worked out very well for us.
Spain had less possession than in other games, with Italy even enjoying more than you in the first half. Was that something the team had planned for? No, not at all. That’s just how the game panned out. Nor had it anything to do with our going ahead and their need to push for an equaliser. I think we clearly understood that hitting them on the break would work for us, and in that sense it was the perfect game for us – even if that was a bit more because of the circumstances than a set plan.
The team has now made history with three major titles in succession. What’s the secret to staying motivated?
The desire to win titles is always there, because the sensation you get when you do it is truly unique. That’s why we go into tournaments aiming to experience those emotions again. From a personal standpoint, I also have to try to hold down a position. In Spain, every generation seems to be better than the last, so if you let your guard down, there is someone else ready to take your place. You need to be always on your game, which naturally helps bring the best results.
So what now for you guys?
Right now it’s time to celebrate, and first with the fans, who have always been there for us. We’ll do that in Spain obviously, but also here in Poland and Ukraine, where we’ve had incredible support in every game. That’s been really impressive. After that, we’ll have time to rest and enjoy it with our families, who are all waiting for us.
And what a season for you! Now you need to recharge the batteries and go for another Premier League title with Manchester City…
For sure, that’s an extra motivation. It’s sure to be a long, hard season competing with teams like Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. They’re used to fighting it out for titles and won’t have enjoyed seeing us win the league. Then, of course, there’s the incentive that is the Champions League. We’ll be hoping to win a couple of titles, or at least one, as we have done in recent years.
Finally, given your experience playing in England, what’s your take on their national team?
England have a really great team but have not had a lot of luck. They’ve got great quality players, who will win something one day. It’s just a question of time. What’s certain, however, is that they’ll be battling it out among the best.