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Thiago Silva: The Brazilian Butcher

28th August, 2020...

Just days after a crushing Champions League final defeat to Bayern Munich, Thiago Silva, 36, sealed a highly-anticipated move to Chelsea, where expectations were as high as ever going into a season that would turn out to be like none other.

Chelsea had struck the cord in the transfer market with Frank Lampard making a host of attacking additions - the likes of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner coming in to boost Chelsea's options up front as they came out front-runners in the autumn transfer window.

It was clear that Roman Abramovich had silverware on his mind, and the only pieces of the puzzle left to be filled were at the back and in goal.

Coming into a side whose defence had been criticised for a large part of the 2019/20 campaign, the lift that Silva has given his peers at the back can't merely be summed up by words.

Fast forward four months, Chelsea have one of the meanest defences in the division, and after a couple of minor blips in form, they're looking fit to mount a genuine title-challenge this term, with cup glory a major possibility as well.

And boy, has Silva done his bit to steer this young Chelsea squad on the right path!

Signing of the summer? Based on impact and form, the evergreen Brazilian is right up there.

So what is it about him? How can someone come in, having never played in the Premier League before, and transform a side?

Needless to say, Silva possesses ridiculous ability - his defensive acumen and ability to read forwards' movements are second to none; he's living proof of 'age is simply a number'.

What isn't spoken of enough is his mentality. Having reached the twilight of his illustrious, trophy-laden career, the Brazilian veteran has taken on a challenge to play in the Premier League, in a period where other footballers in the same boat would prefer a move abroad, the MLS in America increasingly becoming a retiring destination for Europe's best.

To test himself in the most challenging league in world football after all the success he's tasted just draws light on his ambition, and he isn't looking to stop anytime soon from the looks of it.

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Silva has silenced his doubters - shockingly a significant part of Chelsea's fan base was skeptical about Silva, and whether he could cope with the speed of the English game, with fans mocking the Ligue 1, where Silva wore the PSG shirt for eight seasons, as a 'farmer's league'.

Those doubts seem long gone, with Silva ageing like fine wine - establishing his place at the bedrock of the Chelsea back four.

What's not gone under the radar is the effect Silva has had on the likes of Kurt Zouma and Ben Chilwell - constantly shouting orders and getting the best out of the pair. Zouma, in particular, has stepped up his game and his numbers speak for themselves.

There's a sense of composure in everything Silva does on the pitch and that has seemingly rubbed off on his younger comrades.

The young guns at the club have seen Silva win trophies left, right and centre in his career - the Brazilian is a legendary figure in the sport and should he have a word of advice to give to a player, one'd imagine that would get a reaction from the player.

The best players, the really top players in football, make their team and their teammates better, and Silva is the perfect example of the same. The fact that he's a polyglot just boosts his profile, though he's still getting used to speaking English.

When a player like Silva walks through the door, the standards of training are raised and that in itself, drives players on to be the best version of themselves by putting a shift in on a daily basis. 

Silva has an excellent injury record - he's always fit and accustomed to starting fifty-odd games over the course of a season. 

In a season where squad rotation is as crucial as ever, Lampard will want to manage Silva's minutes to get the best out of him as Chelsea compete on three fronts.

Silva is used to dealing with pressure on the biggest stages and he'll play a vital role on and off the pitch if Chelsea do end up tasting silverware this season, and with an eye-catching Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid awaiting the Blues, Silva could make the difference for Lampard's men should they go on a successful run in Europe.


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