Thiago Silva’s Chelsea Career

After privately deciding his future at Chelsea, Thiago Silva has confirmed the news that he will be leaving the Blues at the end of the season.

Silva has been with Chelsea for four seasons. He has called Stamford Bridge home since joining Chelsea on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2020.

Silva is known as one of the world’s best defenders. He has found success at club level with Brazil’s Flumenise, Italy’s AC Milan, France’s PSG, England’s Chelsea, and at international level, Brazil. He has won the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup with Chelsea.

Despite joining Chelsea at no fee, it has turned out to be one of Chelsea’s best transactions in the past few years. His performance at the London club has backed up his nickname of “O Monstro” (Portuguese for “The Monster”), a nickname he earned while at Fluminense.

His strength and dominance in the backline have led him to lift silverware with every team he has played for, and despite only joining Chelsea in the latter stages of his career, the Brazilian has earned legendary status at the club.

Heart of a back three

Thiago Silva joined the Blues in Frank Lampard’s second season in charge, with it being a difficult start to the season for the club. Under Lampard, he regularly wore the captain’s armband and was part of the defence that conceded only twice in nine appearances. He was also a threat in front of the goal, scoring headers against Sheffield United and West Ham United.

Following a difficult first half of the season, Lampard was replaced by Thomas Tuchel. The German manager picked up Chelsea’s form, and Silva was part of the defence that earned clean sheets in Tuchel’s first two games. Unfortunately, in Tuchel’s third game, Silva picked up an injury.

He was out of action for a couple of weeks, but was back in time to help the Blues in their Champions League fight. Chelsea went on to win the competition title after a 1-0 win against Manchester City in the final. What made Chelsea’s story even more special was the impenetrable goal. Silva was part of the defence that ended Chelsea’s UCL campaign with nine clean sheets, conceding just four goals en route to their second-ever Champions League title.

(UEFA Champions League 2020/21 season club defending stats. Source: UEFA Champions League)

In the 2021/22 season, Silva continued to be the heartbeat of Tuchel’s usual back three. That season, the Brazilian completed the most clearances in the Premier League for the Blues with 95. When Chelsea won the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup, Silva received the Golden Ball.

Something memorable about that season was his performances at London derbies. Not only was he authoritative, calm and composed in defence, but in front of goal, he was also a threat. Silva scored in home and away games against Tottenham and headed another London derby goal at West Ham.

The Polished Gem Amidst the Rough

Chelsea’s 2022/23 season was difficult, to say the least. After not the best of starts to their season, Tuchel was replaced by former Brighton coach, Graham Potter in September. In early April, Frank Lampard returned as he was appointed as caretaker manager after Potter failed to find form with the team. Lampard also struggled, also unable to revive the club where he spent most of his career.

In a season where Chelsea massively struggled, Silva gave the Blues a sliver of hope. With every position and area of the team struggling, Silva was a shining star, the glue that desperately tried to hold the team together as it crumbled.

In the Premier League, Chelsea won 11 games, drew 11 and lost 16. Their biggest struggle was finding the back of the net. Luckily for the Blues though, Silva was hard to score against. He ended the season with more touches on the ball (2,330), interceptions (34), clearances (109), blocks (29) and duels won (117) in the Premier League than any other Chelsea player. A notable performance was when Chelsea played Manchester City at home, and in-form Erling Haaland was unable to get past ‘O Monstro’ all game.

His work-rate, especially for a 38-year-old, was commendable, not only by fans, but by players as well. So much so, that he was named Chelsea Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year for 2023.

Chelsea’s current season is yet another difficult season. However, individual performances have improved among the squad. Silva remains a strong force in the backline, having recently returned to Mauricio Pochettino’s starting XI. Silva, who performed superbly in Chelsea’s 1-0 FA Cup semifinal loss against Manchester City, was in tears following the final whistle, a show of passion for the badge. His emotional display was a clear sign that the Brazilian knew that was his final chance at silverware while with the Blues.

Silva is yet to confirm where he is headed after he leaves Chelsea at the end of the season. However, his first footballing home Fluminense may be where the legend finds himself and bids his farewells to the beautiful game for good.

The Chelsea legend has not ruled out a return to Chelsea, stating that he would like to return in another role. Thiago Silva’s last words in the announcement video were, “Goodbyes are for those that leave and don’t come back. I intend on coming back one day…”

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