Former Manchester City defender Sylvinho admits that the speed of progress at Manchester City has come as a welcome surprise.
The Premier League leaders were acquired by Sheikh Mansour back in 2008 and have benefitted from considerable investment on and off the field.
Two domestic titles have been secured in recent years, along with FA Cup and League Cup successes.
City now boast a star-studded squad which is the envy of many European rivals, while Pep Guardiola is a coach held in the highest regard.
The club have swept beside all before them this season to suggest that more silverware could be on the cards and Sylvinho – who spent the 2009-10 campaign at the Etihad Stadium – has been impressed by the manner in which the Blues have gone about their business.
The ex-Brazil international told Goal: “Manchester City operate in a very complicated competition like the Premier League, where there is a rush to get results.
“What they have done is spectacular because it is a team with a lot of money that has not taken long to understand that money is not everything in football. They have managed to maintain the project over time and they have been growing season by season.
“I did not expect everything to go so well. This team is very serious, that is without question.
“Chelsea were already an impressive team before the arrival of [Roman] Abramovich, there was [Gianluca] Vialli and [Gianfranco] Zola, among many others, and they improved noticeably.
“But City, which was a much more modest club, has experienced remarkable change.
“They are people with patience who understand football. Hopefully they can translate this management into important titles because they deserve it.”
Prior to spending one season with City, Sylvinho took in two years with Arsenal.
The South American added on that period of his career: "I was the first Brazilian player who signed for Arsenal in the club’s history, then Edu and Gilberto Silva came in.
“They always tell me that I left an impressive mark and that I paved the way for them to arrive.
“A very interesting opportunity then arose in Vigo and, although initially I thought it might be taking a few steps backwards, I did not hesitate and left with the intention of starting again without thinking of reaching a bigger club.”
He brought the curtain down on his career after leaving Catalunya for City, with just 16 outings taken in for the Blues before hanging up his boots.