Pep Guardiola says he was advised to sign David Silva during his time at Barcelona, but that the playmaker was "so expensive".
Silva made his 300th Manchester City appearance on Saturday, having signed from Valencia in 2010.
The Spaniard is regarded by many at City as the club's greatest-ever player, and Guardiola praised both his ability and mentality following the 3-1 victory over Hull City.
And the Catalan says he was told during his time at Camp Nou that he should make a move for Silva by former Valencia boss Unai Emery.
"I remember when I was at Barcelona and the first or second year I was there, Unai Emery was there and after the game he said, 'David Silva is the player for you, for Barcelona. Believe me that is a Barcelona player,'" Guardiola told reporters.
"And he was so right. He's a special player. It's not [just] about the quality.
"Always I said to him, 'You have to score goals!' Because if Silva scored goals he would have been something you cannot even imagine. He has absolutely everything with mentality, he's a competitor and everything.
"Hopefully we can help him to be a better player still. I would like to feel that it is not enough what he has done and he can believe he can do better for his own career but big congratulations becasue what he has achieved here in England with his own quality is not easy.
"That's why he has to be so, so happy with that."
Asked if he ever tried to sign Silva for his former club, Guardiola simply smiled and said, "he was so expensive, so expensive."
Guardiola remarked in the build-up to Saturday's game that he was surprised Silva has only won the Premier League Player of the Month award once, but when asked to revisit the topic on Saturday he insisted the Spaniard's career will be about more than individual trophies.
City pay homage to Silva brilliance
"He has something more special than awards," he said. "Awards are to put in wardrobes and clean sometimes. He has the respect of all of his teammates and his trainers. That is the most important thing.
"The opinion we will have in the future of what he has done in his career is not about how many individual prizes he has won but about the opinion of his team-mates and his managers."