David Silva is playing the best football of his career since Pep Guardiola took over at Manchester City, according to his former teammate David Villa.
The New York City FC striker was with Silva at Valencia for five years as well being international teammates for Spain when they won the 2008 European Championships and 2010 World Cup.
They remain good friends and Villa, 36, who played under Guardiola at Barcelona, says the City manager has the ability to improve even the best players.
"I'm not surprised because Pep has the capacity to improve every player that he trains," Villa told reporters. "This is the best way, you play for Manchester City so you are a good player anyway but you can improve with Pep.
"I went to Barcelona and I remember my first day I saw another part of [football]. I'd played for Spain, I'd played for Valencia in the Champions League and won many trophies but Pep took me to another level. He saw that he can improve me.
"I know David from when he started his career in Valenica, he's an amazing player and with Pep he can improve as well."
Silva's contribution to City's title-winning campaign was all the more remarkable as it came during a difficult personal period following the premature birth of his son Mateo in December.
"I think he's a humble man, who never changed his mentality," Villa added. I know his family -- we had great years together and he has the same mentality. When you see him out there he's a leader, he'll take the ball when he needs to. He has everything for [football], he pushes hard and plays strong.
"He's happy. The last time we spoke we were talking about his family but it was a good outcome with his son. He told me he's happy and he wants to stay a few more years."
Silva has won all the domestic trophies during his eight years at the Etihad Stadium but the one trophy that eludes him in the Champions League. But Villa says that if anyone can lead City to European glory, it is Guardiola after improving their style of football.
"Pep changed the way of [football] in Spain, in Germany and now he's changing it in Manchester. He's one of the greats -- not only in terms of his success but also the things he's done in every country he's worked in," he added.
"The most difficult is to win. I know their focus is on the Champions League and it's very difficult to have success in that. You can do everything, you can have very good players but it's difficult to be successful. If there's one man who can do it in Manchester, it's Pep because of his mentality and the way he works.
"Obviously it's difficult in the first or second year but he can do it with City and why not this year. They have a strong team, the squad will know the style of Pep."