As one of few players on the books at the Etihad Stadium to have been a mainstay throughout major rebuilding works, Richards has seen multi-million pound talent aplenty arrive at Eastlands.
Of those to have been drafted in, the England international believes Spanish playmaker Silva could be the pick of the bunch.
Snapped up from Valencia for £26million in 2010, the World Cup winner put in another star showing for City on Saturday as they collected a 3-1 victory away at West Ham United.
Silva was a constant menace at Upton Park, but the standard he has been able to maintain throughout his time in England comes as no surprise to Richards.
He said: "The only way I can stop him in training is if I smash him. He doesn't come near me now! We have an agreement - you don't come near me, I won't hurt you.
"We call him Merlin. He's like a little wizard isn't he? He is class.
"At West Ham he was just ridiculous. He is the best player I have played with. He just makes it look easy, the way he goes past people. He is just amazing."
Victory for City over the weekend lifted them into fourth place in the Premier League standings.
They are now three points adrift of table-topping Arsenal, but five ahead of arch-rivals Manchester United - who have endured a testing start to David Moyes' first campaign at the helm since succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson.
Richards is, however, refusing to write the Red Devils out of the title race just set, saying: "Let's not kid ourselves, Fergie is probably the best manager ever.
"He's probably like having a 12th man in your team. Moyes is a great manager. He's done a similar job at Everton, he didn't have that much to spend and he kept them consistently playing well.
"It will be hard for them, losing Fergie, but I think in time, Moyes will get it right."