Roberto Mancini believes David Silva is one of the best players in the world, suggesting he is on a par with Barcelona duo Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
The City manager also expressed his surprise that Spain's biggest clubs overlooked the playmaker when he joined City from Valencia in 2010.
"Silva is a top player. I don't know why he didn't go to Barca or Real Madrid as he's Spanish," said Mancini.
"I think he's at the same level as Xavi and Iniesta."
City will make their debut in the Champions League on Wednesday when Napoli travel to Manchester, and Mancini will hope to benefit from his large squad - even if some players are unhappy with his rotation policy.
"They may not be happy because every player wants to play always, but I'm the manager and I need to take this decision.
"Now we have a difficult match coming up, we play every three days and players like Samir Nasri, Aleksander Kolarov, Stefan Savic and Dzeko have played two games in four days and they need to recover."
Mancini is expecting a special atmosphere at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, when Napoli return to Europe's top competition for the first time since 1990, shortly after the end of Diego Maradona's time as club captain.
"For Napoli it will be the first time in the European Cup after many years, after Maradona, and for them, like us, the first night will be very exciting," he said.