Spanish midfielder David Silva has thanked Pep Guardiola and Manchester City for their "love" during the most difficult time of his life - the premature birth of his son.
In December last year, Silva's son, Mateo, was born prematurely and was in a fight for his life, resulting in the midfielder spending the following five months travelling between Manchester and the hospital in Valencia.
It meant Silva missed a number of matches during a busy part of the season, while he often trained alone in Spain on his trips home to visit his son and support his family.
It was during this time of "crisis" that Silva said made him realise how supportive Guardiola and Manchester City were.
"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," Silva said in an interview with the Daily Mirror.
“It was Christmas. It was the busiest part of the season and I knew Pep needed me to play. We were doing well in the league, but nothing was decided. It was still a close race at that time.
“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.
“When you see Pep on TV or read his words in the newspaper, it is the portrait of a man who is the ultimate professional. But when you work with him, you don’t just come to see him as a coach. You learn about his qualities as a man.
“It is that side of Pep Guardiola that the people on the outside don’t get to see. I witnessed the human instincts of Pep and I can tell you that for him there are more important things in life than football.
“City are a club that is built to win trophies. But in that moment, the manager, the staff, the owners, my teammates and the fans showed me that they understand that a great football club doesn’t just think about football.
“At City we don’t just have successful people, we have great human beings who know that family is paramount.”
Silva, 32, also revealed in the interview that he has decided to leave City when his contract expires in 2020.
“I will have been 10 years at the club - and that will be it. It’s a decision I have already taken," he said.
“Who I will play for I don’t know. The only thing I am sure of is that it will not be in England because I could never play against City in the Premier League.
“The only thing I can say is that it will be somewhere away from the rain!”