Manchester City midfielder David Silva has revealed his prematurely-born baby son is fighting for his life.

The Spaniard missed games against Newcastle United and Crystal Palace at the end of last month but concerns over an injury were quickly dismissed by City manager Pep Guardiola, who admitted the playmaker was suffering from a serious personal issue.

The 31-year-old returned to action on Tuesday (2 January), as the Premier League leaders beat Watford 3-1 at home to restore a 15-point gap at the top of the table and has since taken to Twitter to explain his absence.

"I want to thank all of you for the love and good wishes received in the last few weeks, special thanks to my teammates, the manager and all at the club for understanding my situation," he wrote.

"Also I want to share with you the birth of my son Mato, who was born extremely preterm and is fighting day by day with the help of the medical team."

Silva has been an instrumental figure in City's splendid first half of the season, scoring five goals and providing 10 assists in 23 games in all competitions, and was again impressive during the game against Watford.

However, Guardiola warned the Spain international could again be unavailable in the coming weeks, as his personal life takes precedence over football.

"We are very happy David is back, we don't know how long, but he made another exhibition," he added.

"He's essential, he showed how important he is for us.

"He's free to stay or leave, it depends. He wants to stay because he enjoys it, but family is the most important thing in life.

"It doesn't matter if we drop a lot of points, I'd never push him.

"Some days he will be here some he will be out, it depends how his family is."