The Spain international has adapted to life in England well since his move from Valencia in 2009, and is now a key player for the Eastlands outfit.
The Italian manager feels that the diminutive Spaniard is underrated, and would not look out of place at one of the El Clasico sides.
“Silva is a top, top player. I don’t know why he didn’t go to Barca or Real Madrid because he’s Spanish but we are lucky because he’s here,” he told The Daily Mail.
“If he had gone to Barca two years ago everyone would say he’s one of the best players in the world – and he is one of the best players in the world.
“He’s different from Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo because they are strikers and score a lot of goals but I think he’s the same as Xavi and Iniesta,” the coach continued.
City start their Champions League campaign at home to Napoli on Wednesday, and Mancini knows his countrymen will provide difficult opposition.
“They are a very good team and the Champions League is not like the Premier League, we only have six games and you need to win always if you want to go in the second stage.
“It’s strange because our group is a very hard group and all the teams can finish top or in fourth position,” he admitted.
Mancini also has a dilemma over who to play in attack, with Sergio Aguero fresh from a hat-trick at the weekend, Edin Dzeko in spectacular form and Carlos Tevez back in the fray after playing against Wigan on Saturday.
“They may not be happy – that’s impossible because every player wants to play always, but I’m the manager and I need to take this decision,” he concluded.
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