Twelve months ago, Thiago Silva trudged off the pitch in Portugal, defeated. Bayern Munich were celebrating while Silva (and head coach Thomas Tuchel) were left to rue what could’ve been after the 1-0 defeat in the 2020 Champions League final in Lisbon, Portugal.
I doubt either one of them had thought that they’d be back, in Tuchel’s case so soon, and in Thiago’s case, ever again.
“To be back in a Champions League final so quickly means a lot. You could say it is a surprise gift. Until last year I had never been in a Champions League final, and now I have been in two in a row. It is very special.”
Thanks to UEFA’s machinations, the final is once again in Portugal, though this time a few hundred miles away in Porto, a city that already holds special significance for the veteran center back.
It was here that he completed his recovery from a career- and life-threatening bout with Tuberculosis as a 20-year-old back in 2005, when he considered retiring altogether, before his career could’ve even truly began.
“It is difficult to express in words the whole meaning of all this.
“Achievement is a daily goal in my career and often we don’t understand some decisions or facts, but I want and am enjoying this special moment God is providing me in this place that has to do with my life story. [...] Football always brings us a lot of emotions and sometimes in a quick, even unexpected way, and when you do something you love, with all the necessary sacrifices, this gift undoubtedly has a much greater meaning.”
You could say that Thiago was reborn in Porto. And now he could achieve the crowning glory of his career in the same place.
“I believe that for any professional to reach their goals, sacrifice is part of their daily lives. The life of the high-performance athlete demands this and nowadays, even more so. However, the fulfilment and joy are greater, without a doubt. Thankfully, I will be playing in my second consecutive Champions League final, and I hope that it ends on a different note to last year.
“As you gain experience over time, you take a few precautions because too much eagerness can influence you in the actual game. I’ve been feeling very relaxed lately, ever since I put every situation in God’s hands and stopped asking “why?” or “how?”. ‘I’m just keeping faith and working hard, because keeping faith won’t be enough. We know that a final is a very unique game.”
-Thiago Silva; source: Chelsea FC
Written in the stars?