Thiago Silva cupped his ear as the Chelsea supporters inside Stamford Bridge sang his name once more. Very few players have received the same adulation in recent years. Even fewer have done so having spent just two-and-a-half seasons at the club.
Yet that is Silva; he breaks the mould. It’s why at 38 years old he remains one of the Premier League’s finest central defenders. And why – football.london understands – Chelsea are prepared to offer the Brazilian another 12-month contract extension.
When Silva joined Chelsea from Paris Saint-Germain in August 2020, his signing felt something of a stop-gap. His experience would be vital in a young dressing room; his leadership qualities viewed as essential. Yet nobody quite envisaged the impact Silva would have at Stamford Bridge.
As a Chelsea player, the centre-back has won the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup. He has made 105 appearances and also captained the side. Silva’s durability and consistency are remarkable – and he will almost certainly succeed in his ambition to play until he is 40 years old.
“It’s important for me that I can play on this level at this age but it’s not easy, especially in the Premier League,” Silva explained earlier this season. “When I finish training, I come back home and think about how I can repair myself for tomorrow. The intensity is high from the first minute to the last, so you have to be ready. I might be 38 years old but I think I can help this team as much as possible.
“My aim is to play until I’m 40 years old – but I don’t know if it will be this level or this competition. It depends on this season and we’ll see what will happen in the World Cup. It also depends on a contract extension, but my aim is to play until I’m 40.”
It’s become apparent throughout January – if it wasn’t already known – that the Chelsea ownership group are focused on building a youthful squad to work under Graham Potter. Yet Silva’s unrivalled know-how and on-pitch nous cannot be bought, and it is something valued by the Blues head coach.
“He’s got a football brain that is pretty much above everybody,” said Potter after the weekend draw with Liverpool. “He understands the game and he’s played for so long at the highest level. The players he’s played with, the players he’s played against, his references are so strong that he can help the team and individuals.
“He’s got Benoit [Badiashile] next to him, just his second game in the Premier League, and I’m sure he benefits from playing alongside Thiago. Everyone benefits from him. He is a leader on the pitch, leader off the pitch, a really important player.”
Silva’s place in Chelsea history is already established – there are many who already consider him one of the greatest defenders to have worn the blue shirt. And if he opts to remain at Stamford Bridge beyond his current contract, his name will continue to be chated by those in the stands.