Thiago Silva has been busy giving defensive masterclasses, one after another, in his stint at Chelsea. Today, we look into his performances and gameplay and discuss how and what he has been accomplishing as a Chelsea player despite being 37. Historically, when footballers are on the other side of 30, their days on the football pitch are numbered. Maybe, 32/33 in the case of defenders. Most of the great defenders of recent times had already retired at 37- Rio Ferdinand (36), Puyol (36), Cannavaro (37), Vidic (34), Kompany (34), John Terry (37). Silva will be 38 in September. But, he still looks at the top of his game, dishing out top-class performances regularly. At Chelsea, he is defying father time in some style.
Longevity & consistency
Thiago Silva was always an elite defender. However, his latest run with Chelsea in the twilight of his career cements that title ever so more. Many regard the Premier League as one of the most physical and swift leagues in terms of style. By his admission, Thiago Silva’s introduction to the league wasn’t straightforward. But he adapted quickly and made himself at home from then onwards. The calmness, composure, and class he exhibits even against the toughest of oppositions, and most tricky situations have left everyone going gaga over him. Many fans wonder what he would have done, how he would have been in his prime, for what he has been doing at 37.
Silva was playing for one of the top teams in AC Milan and PSG for over a decade. During that time, he achieved numerous individual and team honors. Yet, his Chelsea days feel like the height of recognition and appreciation towards him. He is turning heads and grabbing more eyeballs with his performances when he was supposedly not supposed to.
Thiago Silva is heralded as a complete defender by his peers, critics, and fans. He may not be as fast as he used to be, but he is still quick enough. Besides, he mostly doesn’t require to be. Because of his superb tactical intelligence, discipline, and knowledge of the game, as well as an excellent positional sense, he usually finds himself in the best position to neutralize the opposition. Silva reads the game and players brilliantly, and anticipates plays and runs, allowing him to close down the opposing players. Add his heart and strength to that. He is one of those vintage defenders who does not shy away from putting his body on the line for his team, be it on attack or defense.
Passing is one of Thiago Silva’s great assets, and he has showcased that in Chelsea as well. Statistically, he is the best passer on the Chelsea side this season, with a pass completion rate of 92.6. For someone who attempts numerous long passes, he has great efficiency in that as well. Sometimes, he acts as a deep-lying playmaker for Chelsea. He utilizes his passing range and vision to set the attackers up for goal-scoring opportunities. Despite being a defender, he is one of the leading men on Chelsea’s side to play most final third passes for Chelsea this season. He often anticipates the players’ runs and his passing ability allows him to find them and trace their runs with ease. He is also leading the way in blocks and clearances for Chelsea this season.
Experience can’t be bought or sold
Thiago Silva was hurt when he was let go by PSG and recruited Ramos, who also brought similar skill sets to the table. While Ramos hasn’t featured much for PSG, Silva has been Chelsea’s defensive linchpin. He seems to be very content with his collaboration with Tuchel and other Chelsea players. He is living a dream here at Chelsea. Silva has quickly become a cult hero for Chelsea fans as they have embraced him as one of his own. For the value he adds to the team, his skill sets, experience, and leadership, many are considering him the best Chelsea signing in years. The fact that Chelsea got him for free feels implausible. He has added three more team honors besides two runner-up medals since joining the Blues. That winning mentality and wisdom isn’t something you can put a price on.
In the most recent match in UCL vs Lille, Thiago Silva had 89% pass accuracy, 96 touches (most), 12 ball recoveries (most,) 6 clearances,5 aerial duels contested (most), 4 aerial duels won (most), 2 shots blocked, 1 tackle and 1 interception.
This is one of the many brilliant Thiago Silva shows. He was also amazing against the ever-threatening Liverpool attack in the Cup Final. With the string of amazing performances, he is making a strong case for Chelsea’s player of the season. If he was 27, not 37, he would arguably be labeled as the best in the world. Irrespective of the title, he still is one of the best, and Chelsea is immensely lucky to have him. It would probably take $50 million or $100 million to replace Silva today and even that won’t guarantee the presence and performances he brings to the table. What more of and for how long will he be doing such things will be exciting to see.