Today is Thiago Silva’s 36th birthday.
That sounds like a lot, but for one of the best defenders of this generation, coming off of captaining his previous team to a Champions League final, that is just extra motivation. Motivation to keep working hard, to take on a brand new challenge in a brand new league, and to prove himself to his new coach, his new teammates, and his new fans.
“First and foremost, I came because Chelsea is an amazing team and one of the biggest clubs in the world. It helps when you’re welcomed so warmly, particularly by a coach who played until relatively recently, because in football there are very strong preconceptions regarding the age of players. But I know about his experience when he first arrived at Manchester City, theoretically at the end of his career. He endured the same sort of thing as I’ve gone through.
“So even from the outside, without knowing me personally, he knows how hard I work to remain at the highest level. The confidence that he showed in me - that was all it took. For me, that confidence was the single most important factor. To hear that he believed in me, that he thought that I could come here and make a positive contribution. With our young group, as well as some more experienced players like our captain [Cesar] Azpilicueta, we’ve got all it takes for a great season.
Chelsea acted swiftly to snap up the veteran center back after he let his PSG contract expire, adding him to a young and developing group that conceded far too many goals last season. Silva probably won’t fix all those problems all by himself, but he will be expected to lead by example and get others to improve as well. His own attitude is exemplary, and that alone should be a model and an inspiration for the others.
“I’m arriving 100 per cent motivated for this new project. I’m not just here for the experience, I’m here to win. I hope that [the fans] believe, just as we do, that this is going to be a very special year and one full of success for the club.”
With over 600 professional appearances to his name and over 20 trophies in his trophy cabinet, there isn’t much left for Silva to prove. Yet here he is, bringing unmatched experience and mentality to the club.
“My aim is to win. As I said before, it’s a young team and we’re aiming to win as many games as possible. We know that the opposition will never make life easy for us and will have prepared to win the game but I will work as hard as I can from the very start. I always say that if you have a match tomorrow, then you can’t start preparing for it today. Preparation doesn’t work like that; it happens over a period of time.
“From what I see, Chelsea are preparing really well for this new season. Of course, there are going to be times when things don’t go 100 per cent to plan because we’ve got a lot of new players and sometimes that takes time. But I think that if you’re working with top players, it comes much easier. After a couple of games, you build an understanding. Very soon, you only need to glance at one another, you don’t even need to say anything.
“Being at a big club, winning trophies, that’s what drives me on. From my perspective, I’m doing everything to ensure that I can deliver the very best of myself.”
- Thiago Silva: source: Chelsea FC
Hopefully Silva can find match fitness and make his debut sooner rather than later, either against Barnsley in the League Cup tomorrow (Wednesday) or against West Brom at the weekend.