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Fluminense keep hoping, dreaming of Thiago Silva homecoming

Soap opera unfolding

Brazil’s Fluminense Junior Cesar (6) and Photo credit should read VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images

Before moving to Europe and becoming a legend of the game, Thiago Silva was a hero at Fluminense, helping to win the club’s first ever Brazilian Cup in 2007 as well as reach the finals of the 2008 Copa Libertadores — only to lose to underdogs LDU Quito. Over the years, Silva had promised several times to return and finish the job; but he had postponed those plans just as many times, too.

But with Chelsea out of European competition next season and Thiago getting ever closer to his retirement, rumours of his seemingly inevitable return to Fluminense have grown strong once again. As is custom in Brazil, it’s been a true soap opera, from an aunt teasing supporters about his return to Thiago himself making a video call to former Real Madrid left-back Marcelo — yet another Fluminense youth product, who returned to the club earlier this year — and making the crowd go wild.

Fluminense supporters’ (including yours truly’s) hopes are high for good reason. Flu are playing at a very high level right now under head coach Fernando Diniz, and assuming he doesn’t get poached by the Brazil national team, it does feel like they have a golden opportunity to focus and lift the Copa Libertadores after that massive 2008 heartbreak. Getting Thiago involved would only make the task easier.

However, Thiago himself does not want to come back just yet, according to Fluminense’s president, Mário Bittencourt.

“Me, [former Fluminense and Lyon centre forward] Fred and [assistant coach] Marcão made a video call [with Thiago] in January. I have a relationship with him, Marcão has a strong bond with him. At no time did he hide his desire to come back, but he never said he would return soon. He said he wanted to stay in Europe to play in the World Cup, and he did.”

But as some say, hope dies last.

“We told him we would like him to come [back to Fluminense] this year. And he was honest, saying he would renew his [Chelsea] contract until 2024. What could happen, which depends much more on him than on us, is what happened to Marcelo [at Olympiakos]. He was already set to return [to Fluminense] mid-season, then he called saying he would stop his contract and returned [earlier].”

-Mário Bittencourt; source: Cheguei podcast via Globo Esporte

As Bittencourt mentions, Thiago has recently signed a contract through next season, 2024, with Chelsea, so Fluminense might have to wait a bit — unless we want to let Thiago have his feel-good written in the stars ending (if and when he himself is ready to go back).

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