Thiago Emiliano da Silva (Brazilian Portuguese: ; born 22 September 1984), commonly known as Thiago Silva, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a central defender for and captains both, Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team.
After moving to Europe to join Milan in 2009, Silva established himself as one of the highest rated defenders in the world, winning the Serie A title with the Rossoneri in the 2010-11 season. In July 2012, Paris Saint-Germain signed him for a reported 42 million, making him then the second-most expensive defender in history behind Rio Ferdinand. With PSG, Silva has won four consecutive Ligue 1 championships, four consecutive Coupes de la Ligue and three consecutive Coupe de France.
A full international since 2008 and a non-playing member of their team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Silva captained Brazil to victory at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and fourth place at the World Cup a year later, both on home soil. He was also part of their squads for the two Olympic tournaments – winning a bronze in 2008 and silver four years later – and as many Copa Amrica editions, earning over 60 caps in all.
As a youngster, Silva was admitted into a school in the Campo Grande neighbourhood of Rio – coincidentally a feeder school for Fluminense. At the age of 14, Silva impressed Fluminense coach Maurinho during a friendly in Xerm. He was given a short trial, where he was given the role of a defensive midfielder. Silvas playing opportunities were little, prompting him to trial for other clubs. In 1999, at the age of 15, Silva auditioned at Madureira, Olaria and Flamengo; he was rejected at each club, the trial at Flamengo being the most difficult for he was not even observed by coaches.
After another unsuccessful trial at Botafogo, Silva was taken on by Barcelona, a small Brazilian club in the lower divisions. The following year, Silva played at a showcase tournament in So Paulo in the hope of attracting attention of bigger clubs. It is there where he was spotted by Paulo Csar Carpegiani, who invited him to join RS Futebol Clube in the south of Brazil. By 2001, Silva was a professional and competed in the Brazilian Third Division and other regional tournaments with the first team. In a tournament played in Ancona, Italy, Silva was spotted by Bruno Conti, a coach with Roma. Conti wanted him to play for Roma, but Silva did not accept the offer. Strong performances in his last season as a defensive midfielder led to Silva’s move to Juventude.
Silva moved Juventude in 2004, where he played for six months. At 20 years old, Silva transitioned from midfield to defence under the tutelage of Ivo Wortmann. In his only season at Juventude, Silva was regarded as the revelation of the season. He was rated by the sports magazine Placar as the third-best defender in Brazil, and was included in the team of the season. Juventude had made a huge leap in league placement during Silvas time at the club – from finishing 18th with 53 points in 2003, to finishing 7th with 70 points in 2004. Silvas performances had caught the eye of many clubs with his outstanding performances, and he was sold to Porto.
Silva was bought by Porto for 2.5 million in 2004, but played only for the reserve team. After a year in Portugal, he joined Dynamo Moscow, where he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was hospitalised for six months. His illness became much worse over time and his doctors told him that if he had been hospitalized two weeks later, he could have died. During his recovery, Silva decided to retire from football but was persuaded to reconsider by his mother.
Silva returned to football with the help of his former coach, Ivo Wortmann. In 2006, Wortmann was signed as a coach by Fluminense and requested to bring Silva with him, despite Silva’s health issues. On January 14, Fluminense announced the signing of Silva from Porto. Fluminense struggled in the 2006 Brasileiro, finishing 15th out of 20 teams; however, Silva was described as one of the best players in the season. It is during this time where Silva developed the nickname of “O Monstro” Portuguese for “The Monster”.
2007 was a much better year for both Fluminense and for Silva. The club finished in fourth place in the 2007 Brasileiro, conceding only 39 goals in 38 matches, enough for the second-best defence in Brazil. More importantly, Fluminense managed a historic victory in the 2007 Copa do Brasil, winning the prestigious trophy for the first time. Silva played a decisive part in the victory; he started in every match, and scored the opening goal in the quarter-final, as well as the equalising goal in the semi-final. Silva’s form through the season led him to be selected into Brazilian national team manager Dunga‘s preliminary squad for the 2007 Copa Amrica. After winning the Copa do Brasil, Silva was recognised by fans as the best defender in Brazil. At the end of the season, he was one of three nominees for the Best Central Defender award, alongside Breno and Fbio Luciano. The voting results were unveiled on 4 December, where Silva finished second, behind Breno.
2008 was a bad year for Fluminense, but Silva’s best on an individual level. Having devoted much of their efforts towards the 2008 Copa Libertadores, the club’s league form suffered, finishing in 14th place. On 18 January, Silva was rewarded by Fluminense’s board of directors for his 100th match in the tricolor: He was awarded a shirt with the number “100” and a plaque in honour of his achievements. Silva became an idol for young Fluminense supporters with his level of performances the white wristband that Silva would wear during matches became a trend amongst teenagers in Rio de Janeiro who supported the tricolor. In May 2008, four fans painted a flag of Silva to honour what they deemed “the best central defender in Brazil”. It was first shown in the Copa Libertadores semi-final against Boca Juniors Silva scored a crucial equaliser in the same match.
Silva was included in the 2008 Brasileiro Team of the Season and was selected as the Fans’ Player of the Season. Silva was widely regarded as one of Fluminense’s most important performers in the 2008 Copa Libertadores, reaching the finals only to lose on penalties to LDU Quito. Silva’s form for Fluminense earned him a call-up to the Seleo to take part in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Silva was linked with many clubs in 2008, including the likes of Inter Milan, Chelsea and Villarreal, though ultimately he opted to join the Brazilian contingent already at Milan. The transfer was confirmed on 12 December. In his final match for Fluminense, Silva was cheered by 50,000 supporters who were witnessing his last performance at the Maracan.
After a five-month chase and a four-hour negotiation period, Silva agreed to a move to Milan for a 10 million fee, with net wages of 2.5 million on a four-year contract. Although Silva could not play competitive matches, he was able to train with the first team. In his first month at Milan, he was taught new defending techniques from Paolo Maldini and manager Carlo Ancelotti. Silva played his first match for the Rossoneri in a friendly match against Hannover 96 on 21 January 2009; he played well, making ten tackles. His performance drew praise from Milan executive Adriano Galliani and teammate Clarence Seedorf. Silva was officially registered as a Milan player for the 2009-10 season.
Silva played his first competitive match of the season against Siena on 22 August 2009. After the match, he was praised for a strong individual performance alongside teammate Alessandro Nesta. Milan legend Paolo Maldini claimed that Silva had the “physical and technical characteristics of a champion”, while Nesta said that Silva would “extend my life as a central defender”. On 23 September, Silva left training with a muscle strain; he was inactive for the next four matches. In October, Silva followed a poor performance against Roma with two great displays against Real Madrid; Silva also had a wrongly disallowed goal in Milan’s away victory.
On 8 November, Silva scored a goal – as well as an own-goal – in a 2-1 victory over Lazio. His quick transition to European football was met with a lot of interest from Italian media the investment of 10 million to acquire Silva was regarded as a good decision; the La Gazzetta dello Sport, the largest daily newspaper in Italy, claimed that Silva’s value had doubled at that point. On 25 November, Silva put in a man of the match performance against Marseille to secure passage into the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League. In a match against Zrich on 8 December, Silva was substituted after 20 minutes with a muscle injury. It was suspected that Silva tore a muscle, and would miss up to two months, though after clinical examinations, the injury was found to be a strain rather than a tear. On 30 December, Silva was pronounced to be fully fit by club doctor Massimo Manara.
On 10 January 2010, Milan defeated Juventus by a score of 3-0; Silva was rated as one of the best performers on the day, and La Gazzetta dello Sport compared the understanding of Silva and Nesta to the legendary duo of Franco Baresi and Alessandro Costacurta. On 15 January, Silva’s teammate Alexandre Pato claimed that Silva would become the best defender in the world. In a match against Udinese on 12 February, Silva picked up a muscle injury, leaving him in doubt for Milan’s upcoming Champions League match against Manchester United. On 6 March, Silva was selected as man of the match in a 0-0 draw with fellow Scudetto challengers Roma. At the end of the season, Silva was rated as the third-best central defender in the 2009-10 Serie A by La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Silva’s season began with a goal against Lecce in the first match of the 2010-11 Serie A season. In a 3-1 victory over Chievo on 16 October, Silva was forced to leave the match with a sprained left ankle. The injury forced Silva to miss a Champions League group stage match against Real Madrid Milan CEO Adriano Galliani jokingly said after the match that he would give Silva his healthy foot in order to see him play at the Santiago Bernabu Stadium. Silva was inactive for four matches due to his injury. After returning from his injury, he was to play in the Derby della Madonnina against city rivals and treble winners Inter Milan. Matched against UEFA Club Footballer of the Year winner Diego Milito, Silva nullified his efforts and played a key role in Milan’s 1-0 victory. In a 0-2 group stage loss to Ajax in the Champions League, Silva suffered a right knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery. Initially feared to be a serious injury, it only kept Silva away for one month. At the midpoint of the season, Silva was regarded as the best defender in the Serie A, and the best in Europe.
Forced to play as an emergency defensive midfielder due to an injury crisis, Silva played extraordinarily well against Cesena, a match which Milan won 2-0. Silva’s performance brought comparisons to legendary Milan midfielder Marcel Desailly. In his next match, Silva was rated as the best player in Milan’s 2-1 victory over Sampdoria in the Coppa Italia quarter-final. The midfield “experiment” continued in a 0-0 draw against Lazio, though this time, Silva was compared to another legendary Milan midfielder, Frank Rijkaard. Silva was lauded by Italian media for his display against Napoli, marking-out star striker Edinson Cavani. Milan won 3-0. One publication claimed that Silva and Nesta “made a ghost” of Cavani, whereas another claimed that Cavani had a “nightmare”.
In the match that sealed the Scudetto for Milan, Silva anchored the Rossoneri to a 3-0 victory in the Derby della Madonnina against city rivals Inter. At the end of the season, Silva extended his contract to June 2016. Silva managed to complete the entire 2010-11 Serie A having earned only one yellow card, and having committed 26 fouls in 33 total matches. Silva’s individual season was met with praise from all across Europe. In a fan vote, Silva was selected as Milan Player of the Season with 66.6% of the vote.La Gazzetta dello Sport rated him as the Player of the Season. Silva was selected as Goal’s Serie A Player of the Season, and was also voted as the best defender in the league by Italian media and his fellow professionals.
Milan’s season began with a 2-1 victory over Inter in the 2011 Supercoppa Italiana; Silva was the best defender in the match and one of the best overall performers, making a decisive last-man tackle on Samuel Eto’o to deny a clear chance in the first half. Milan began the 2011-12 Serie A in poor form, winning only two points in the first three matches, though Silva was one of the better players in the draws against Lazio and Udinese. In a Champions League group stage match against Barcelona, Silva and Alessandro Nesta were crucial in the 2-2 result; both defenders were regarded as two of the best performers by Italian and Catalan media. In the match, Silva scored the 90th-minute equaliser his former coach Carlo Ancelotti predicted that Silva would score that goal.
A knee contusion in a 3-0 victory over Palermo on 15 October kept Silva out for two matches. In Silva’s 75th Serie A match for Milan, played on 19 November, he was vital in maintaining a clean sheet against Fiorentina. The next week, Silva was named captain against Chievo, in the process becoming the first foreign captain in 50 years for Milan. In the 4-0 demolition at the San Siro, Silva scored his first goal as captain, while teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovi also scored his 100th Serie A goal in the same match. On December 1, Silva was shortlisted for the FIFPro World XI.1994 World Cup-winning coach Carlos Alberto Parreira regarded Silva as the best Brazilian footballer in Europe.
On 9 January, Silva was compared to Milan’s greatest player, Franco Baresi, by his teammate Gennaro Gattuso. On 13 January, Zlatan Ibrahimovi claimed that Silva was the best defender he had ever played with. Silva was voted into the 2011 UEFA Team of the Year on 18 January. Silva was selected as man of the match in a 0-0 draw against Napoli in February. In Milan’s 4-0 win over Arsenal in the Champions League Round of 16, Silva successfully marked-out Robin van Persie, who was in a great run of form. Silva played his last full league match for Milan on 17 March against Parma, playing an important role in the 2-0 victory. Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidi said that Silva was the best defender in the world in an interview on 22 March.
On March 24, Silva was forced out of a match against Roma after ten minutes due to a serious injury. Although Milan originally claimed Silva would be out just four weeks, instead he missed seven weeks, including the Champions League quarter-finals against Barcelona, where Milan fell 1-3 on aggregate. Without Silva, Milan stuttered in the league and lost the Scudetto to rivals Juventus. It was argued that Silva’s injury was the turning point in the title race: with Silva, Milan won 2.37 out of a possible 3 points per match, while without him Milan won 2.09 out of a possible 3 points. Silva’s strong season finished in another nomination to the Serie A Team of the Year, being joint-best central defender alongside Juve stalwart Andrea Barzagli. He was also regarded as one of the best defenders in Italy by multiple independent publications.
The negotiations to bring Silva to Paris Saint-Germain took place at the end of the 2011-12 season. The saga took over a month to complete. On 11 June 2012, it was reported that Milan legend Paolo Maldini would convince Silva to join PSG in the summer. Major French newspaper L’quipe claimed that a transfer would be completed by 15 June. The same day, PSG sporting director and former Milan coach Leonardo officially declared interest in acquiring Silva. The next day, however, Milan general director Ariedo Braida claimed that Silva was not for sale. On 13 June, Maldini refuted claims that he would play a part in Silva’s transfer, asserting the fact that he would never convince Silva to leave. Milan president Silvio Berlusconi mentioned a potential transfer on 13 June, saying that Silva needed to be sold for 46 million in order to balance the club’s accounts. The next day, however, Berlusconi confirmed that Silva would be staying at Milan. Transfer news slowed down, and on 2 July, Milan extended Silva’s contract to 2017, yet just 12 days later, Silva’s transfer to PSG was confirmed. The transfer fee was rumoured to be around 42 million, which would have made Silva the most expensive defender in football history. Silva had repeatedly stressed the fact that he never pushed for a transfer, and that he was happy at Milan. Silva even mentioned that he would like to return to Milan later in his career.
At his arrival, Silva was presented to the media as the “best defender in the world” by PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. Then PSG coach, and his former coach with Milan, Carlo Ancelotti, admitted to French media that Silva came to the club injured, and would not be able to participate immediately in matches. Thirteen days later, Silva was declared fit to play, in time for a Champions League group stage match against Dynamo Kyiv. On his debut, Silva scored the second goal in PSG’s 4-1 victory. He played his first Ligue 1 match against Bastia, which PSG dominated, winning 4-0. On 20 October, Silva was played as a central midfielder in PSG’s 1-0 win over Reims; Silva was commended for his display by teammate Salvatore Sirigu. Silva scored his second goal for the club in Le Classique the derby between PSG and Marseille. He was praised for his defensive display in the match. On December 16, Silva was praised for shackling Lyon forward Lisandro Lpez in PSG’s 1-0 win. For the 2012 football year, Silva was inducted into the UEFA Team of the Year for the second consecutive season.
In Silva’s first match after the winter break, he was injured in a 0-0 draw against Ajaccio; the MRI confirmed damage to his left bicep, and Silva’s recovery time was listed at three weeks. It was found that Silva’s injury was more serious than initially diagnosed, and as a result Silva was actually inactive for almost two months. Silva made his return in the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16 against Valencia. Silva was outstanding in this match, being lauded heavily in France for an “extraterrestrial effort” against the Spanish side. In PSG’s 1-0 victory over reigning champions Montpellier, Silva was regarded as the man of the match with a flawless defensive display. Silva received the Ligue 1 Player of the Month award for March, with 71% of the vote, after several fantastic performances. This was followed by a unanimously-exalted performance against Barcelona, where Silva was described as “a wall” by French and Catalan media. Carlo Ancelotti claimed after the match that Silva was the best defender in the world, saying that Silva had all the ability to win the Ballon d’Or. PSG legend Ricardo Gomes claimed that Silva was one of Brazil’s best-ever defenders, as well as saying that Silva was the best defender in the history of the club. In the return leg, Silva was again praised by Catalan media for a world-class performance.
Silva continued his run of great performances in PSG’s tight 1-0 victory against Troyes. Silva’s season came to an end on 5 May when he received a straight red-card in a match against Valenciennes. He motioned to the referee, and put his hands on the referee’s shoulder, which the referee deemed as a red-card offence. It was deemed to be a very harsh decision, with former referee Alain Sars claiming the expulsion was severe. Sporting director Leonardo said that the expulsion was “unacceptable”, and Ancelotti said that he did not understand the reason for the expulsion. Nevertheless, at the end of the season Silva was voted into the 2012-13 Ligue 1 Team of the Year for his level of play throughout the season. Silva was also shortlisted for the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award, alongside teammates Blaise Matuidi and Zlatan Ibrahimovi. Over the course of the season, Silva committed an extremely-low 14 fouls, which was mentioned as an excellent total for a defender in Le Parisien. Silva was considered the best defender in Ligue 1 by France Football.
Silva’s season began with a 2-1 victory in the French Supercup against Bordeaux; Silva was voted as man of the match for his display. It was the first time Paris Saint-Germain had won the trophy since 1998. On 22 August 2013, it was announced that Silva had signed a one-year extension to his contract, keeping him at the club until 2018. In the rematch with Bordeaux at the Stade Chaban-Delmas, Silva put in another good performance as PSG won 2-0. Silva was forced off the field in the 16th minute against Monaco due to a left hamstring injury, which ultimately kept him out for six weeks. Coming back from his injury, Silva played extremely well against Nice, out-dueling the league’s second top-scorer, Daro Cvitanich. Silva had an unusual run of scoring form, netting three times in seven matches. Silva scored in PSG’s 4-0 victory over Lyon, 5-0 victory over Sochaux, and 4-0 victory over Nantes.France Football rated Silva as the best central defender in Ligue 1 at the half-way point of the season. At the end of the 2013 football year, Silva was inducted into the 2013 UEFA Team of the Year for the third consecutive year, making him joint-fifth in all-time appearances. Silva was also voted by his fellow professionals in the 2013 FIFPro Team of the Year for the first time in his career.
On 15 January 2014, Manchester United central defender Rio Ferdinand claimed that Silva was, by a distance, the best defender in the world. Silva was imperious in PSG’s 2-0 win against Bordeaux at the Parc des Princes, where he covered for the errors of teammate Gregory van der Wiel and was even close to scoring himself. This performance was followed by another strong performance against Monaco; despite scoring an unlucky own-goal, Silva made crucial interventions throughout the match, including a last-man block against striker Emmanuel Rivire. In PSG’s comprehensive 4-0 win in the Champions League over Bayer Leverkusen, Silva was regarded by Le Parisien as having “dominated” then Bundesliga leading-scorer Stefan Kieling. Marseille defender Lucas Mendes said that Silva was the best defender in the world, and that Silva was his role model as a footballer. On 16 February, Ronaldo, the three-time FIFA World Player of the Year, compared the qualities of Silva to legendary German sweeper Franz Beckenbauer. Silva managed another accomplished display in Le Classique, marshaling the club’s defence to a clean sheet and helping extend its lead to eight points at the top of the Ligue 1 table.
In the Champions League quarter-finals against Chelsea, Silva conceded his first penalty in over three years, but recovered well in the 3-1 first leg victory Silva’s overall defensive effort was well-recognised by both English and French media. In the second-leg, however, Chelsea prevailed on away goals after a late goal from substitute Demba Ba. On 19 April, Silva captained PSG to a 2-1 victory in the 2014 Coupe de la Ligue Final, the first time the club had won the competition since 1998. Despite losing 1-2 to Rennes, PSG clinched the league title; Silva had captained the club to their second consecutive league title, and their first double. Silva again was shortlisted for Ligue 1 Player of the Year, and named in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year for the second consecutive season. Silva was rated by France Football as the league’s fifth-best player, as well as the best defender in Ligue 1.
Silva’s season began poorly in PSG’s 2-2 draw with Reims; he was rated as one of PSG’s worst players in his first match back from the 2014 World Cup. In his post-match interview, Silva mentioned how he was not fully fit and that he was finding it difficult to forget Brazil’s embarrassing loss to Germany, where Brazil capitulated without him. Only three days after the match against Reims, Silva’s rush to get back to full fitness was halted as he suffered a serious thigh injury in a friendly against Napoli on 11 August; he only lasted 13 minutes before being carried off the pitch. After nine weeks, Silva was finally pronounced fit on 16 October by manager Laurent Blanc, who also said that Silva would be able to start the next league match against Bordeaux. In his return, he had an excellent display alongside fellow countryman David Luiz as PSG dominated Bordeaux, winning 3-0. A third of the way into the season, it was observed that Silva’s performances were marked with inconsistency, especially throughout November and December. After PSG’s 1-3 loss to Barcelona in December, he was criticised by former PSG player Pierre Ducrocq, who argued that Silva did not have any physical or technical problems, but instead a mentality issue. Despite his struggles, Silva was recognised by his peers as being one of the two best central defenders in the world, as he was voted into the 2015 FIFPro World XI for the second consecutive year.
The 2015 calendar year began extremely well for Silva, with a man of the match display against Saint-tienne in a 1-0 victory. It was followed by another man of the match performance, this time in a 1-0 win against Rennes. After the match, Rennes captain Sylvain Armand had nothing but praise for Silva, saying “he is a monster and a phenomenon”. Four days later, Silva was voted as man of the match in PSG’s 1-0 Coupe de la Ligue win against Lille. Silva’s return to form was evident and it met praise from across the country Pierre Mns of L’quipe offered his praise, while Alain Roche of Le Parisien stated that he was back to his best. After PSG’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea in the first leg of the 2014-15 Champions League Round of 16, Silva was unanimously praised by the French press for his outstanding defensive showing as he marked-out striker Diego Costa. Three days later, he was voted man of the match as he scored his first goal of the season in a 3-1 victory over Toulouse.
L’quipe recognised Silva’s incredible performances in January and February with a detailed analysis of his performances in 2015, Silva was winning 89% of his duels, best in Ligue 1; Silva had 2.9 interceptions, 3.4 tackles, and 7.6 clearances per match, best in Ligue 1; lastly, Silva had committed a remarkable 0 fouls in 630 minutes of play. In a 2-0 win against Monaco in the Coupe de France quarterfinal, Silva was praised for his dominance: one publication noted, “if you thought Dimitar Berbatov was silent and invisible throughout the match, it was only due to the work of the Monster”. In the second leg of the 2014-15 Champions League Round of 16, Silva conceded a controversial penalty in the 96th minute. PSG were poised to be eliminated from the Champions League but in the 114th minute, Silva atoned for his error with a towering header to beat Thibaut Courtois to help PSG advance to the next stage. Silva was voted by several media sources as the best player in the match as he produced an extraordinary performance.
PSG finally took pole position in the league after their 2-3 win over Marseille; Silva was dominant in his duels and played a crucial role in the victory. Three days later, he was voted man of the match in a 4-1 victory against Saint-tienne in the Coupe de France semi-final. On 11 April, Silva captained the club to a 4-0 win in the Coupe de la Ligue final against Bastia. Four days later, Silva suffered an injury in the 20th minute of PSG’s quarterfinal against Barcelona. He was ruled out for two weeks as PSG were comprehensively beaten 1-5 on aggregate by Bara. Upon his return in a 3-1 win against Metz, Silva had a comfortable performance as PSG moved closer to the title. After an incredible 6-0 win against Guingamp which edged the club closer to the first possible French domestic treble, Silva claimed that this PSG side was the best he had ever played in. One week later, PSG clinched the Ligue 1 title in a hard-fought 2-1 away win at Montpellier; Silva was voted man of the match and he was hailed for marking out Lucas Barrios. In the final match of the season, Silva was rated as the best player on the pitch in PSG’s 3-2 win against Reims. In an interview with Jamie Carragher, former teammate Paolo Maldini called Silva the best defender in the world. For the third consecutive season, Silva was voted by his peers into the Ligue 1 Team of the Year. Silva was also selected in Opta’s Ligue 1 Team of the Season based on statistical merit.
After playing in the 2015 Copa Amrica, Silva finally returned to club training on 20 July in New Jersey. The first pre-season match that Silva played in was the final match of the 2015 International Champions Cup against Manchester United, where PSG won 2-0 to win the trophy; Silva was rated as the best player in the match. Two days later, Silva captained PSG to a 2-0 victory in the 2015 Trophe des Champions against Lyon. Silva had a good match with little to do defensively, as Lyon’s star striker Alexandre Lacazette played an insignificant role in the match.
PSG began their league campaign with a 1-0 victory against Lille, playing with ten-men for two-thirds of the match. Silva had a superb display, leading the defence to a hard-fought clean sheet. His performance was described as dominant, showcasing his intelligence and athleticism throughout the match.
After a strong season with Fluminense, Silva was called up to the Brazil preliminary squad for the 2007 Copa Amrica, though he was not a part of the main team which ultimately won the tournament. Silva was then called up for a friendly against Algeria on 15 August, failing to leave the bench, as Brazil won 2-0. Silva was then selected by Dunga to play in the 2008 Summer Olympics, one of two overage players, alongside Ronaldinho. Silva won his first two caps for Brazil in pre-Olympic friendlies against Singapore and Vietnam, though he suffered a right calf injury against Vietnam that kept him out of Brazil’s first Olympic match. He was finally pronounced fit for the third group match, where Silva started and Brazil won 3-0 against China. He did not start any other matches, only coming on in the 71st minute against Belgium in the third-place match, which sealed the bronze medal for Brazil.
Silva’s next cap came in an international friendly against Portugal on 20 November 2008; Brazil won by a convincing 6-2 scoreline, and Silva was praised for having “dominated” the reigning FIFA World Player of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo. Silva was praised by his teammates for his performance. He was not a starter during the 2010 FIFA World Cup cycle for Brazil, despite his high level of club performances for Milan. He was still playing in friendly matches, and in a November 2009 friendly against England, Silva put in a man of the match display in Doha.
Silva was an unused substitute in all matches at the 2010 World Cup, where Brazil were defeated in the quarter-finals by the eventual finalists, the Netherlands. Silva was selected as captain by new Brazil coach Mano Menezes ahead of the 2014 World Cup qualifying cycle, replacing Lcio. Brazil disappointed at the 2011 Copa Amrica, losing in a penalty shootout to Paraguay, where every Brazilian player Fred, Andr Santos, Elano and Silva failed to convert their penalties in shocking fashion. Silva scored his first goal for Brazil in an friendly match against the United States. International honours still eluded Silva at the 2012 Summer Olympics, as Mexico surprised Brazil in the final to win 2-1.
Silva’s first international trophy came at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, held in Brazil. As a warm-up tournament to the 2014 World Cup, the Brazilian side dominated all opposition, winning the tournament with an overall aggregate score of 14-3. Silva was outstanding throughout the tournament; he was rated as the tenth-best player at the end of the group stages, and by the end of the tournament, he was rated as the fifth-best player of the tournament by the Castrol Performance Index. Silva was also voted into the Confederations Cup Dream Team by FIFA.com users.
Silva scored his second goal for Brazil in a 3-1 friendly victory over Portugal on 11 September 2013. In a pre-World Cup friendly against Serbia, Silva assisted Fred’s goal as Brazil ran out with a 1-0 victory.
2014 World Cup
With Silva playing for the first time at a World Cup, Brazil won 3-1 against Croatia in their first match at the 2014 World Cup, held on home soil. Silva was regarded as Brazil’s best player in their second match, a 0-0 draw against Mexico, making several crucial interventions and getting involved offensively. In the final group match against Cameroon, Silva was again outstanding as Brazil won by a decisive 4-1 scoreline. At the end of the group stage, FIFA rated Silva as the third-best defender of the tournament, and the ninth-best player overall.
In Brazil’s victory over Chile in the quarter-finals, Silva assisted the opening goal scored by David Luiz. Chile equalised, and after no goals were scored in extra-time, the match went to a penalty shootout. Silva faced severe criticism for his behaviour, as he was pictured in tears before and during the shootout.1970 World Cup-winning captain Carlos Alberto asserted that Silva was a weak captain, while Brazilian legend Zico insisted that Silva should have volunteered to take a penalty, instead of refusing to take one. After the Round of 16, Silva was still regarded as one of the best defenders of the tournament by multiple media sources.
Silva was able to silence his critics by scoring the opening goal in the quarterfinal against Colombia, and was seen as a top performer in the match; however, Silva picked up his second yellow card of the tournament for obstructing goalkeeper David Ospina, which ruled him out of the semi-final. Brazil tried to appeal his yellow card, but it was immediately rejected. Nevertheless, at the end of the quarter-final stage, Silva was rated by FIFA as the second-best defender of the tournament, and the fourth-best player overall. Silva’s suspension brought apprehension to the team; Jos Mourinho even claimed that Silva was Brazil’s most important player, praising the stability Silva offers to the defence.
Silva was replaced by Bayern Munich defender Dante, who was deemed by Germany coach Joachim Lw as “an excellent player”. Without Silva as captain, Brazil capitulated in the semi-final, losing by a record 1-7 scoreline to Germany. It was widely recognised that Silva’s absence played a crucial part in the shock result.
In the third-place match, Silva returned, but his presence could not salvage any honours for Brazil, as they were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by the Netherlands. In the second minute of the game, Silva pulled down Arjen Robben, as he ran into Jlio Csar‘s box with the ball for a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Under FIFA rules Silva ought to have been shown a red card, but he was shown a yellow card instead by the Algerian referee Djamel Haimoudi. The referee called for a penalty, while the foul happened outside the box, which was successfully scored by Robin van Persie.
At the conclusion of the tournament, Silva was rated by FIFA as the third-best central defender, and the eighth-best player overall. Silva was selected into the FIFA World Cup Dream Team voted by FIFA.com users, and the Castrol World Cup Top XI based on statistical merit.
2015 Copa Amrica
Brazil, under Dunga’s second stint as manager, went to the 2015 Copa Amrica in Chile with Neymar as the captain. After his suspension for the remainder of the tournament in their second game, however, the armband did not go back to Silva, but rather to his defensive partner, Miranda. In Brazil’s final group match against Venezuela at the Estadio Monumental David Arellano in Santiago, Silva opened the scoring in the ninth minute, volleying in a corner from Robinho. The eventual 2-1 victory sent Brazil into the quarter-finals as group winners. In the 70th minute of the quarter-final, Silva’s handball gave Paraguay the penalty kick from which they equalised for a 1-1 draw; Brazil lost in the subsequent penalty shootout.
Style of play
Silva has been recognized as a complete defender by his peers and critics. He has been described as a consistent defender, without any flaws, and someone who can lead any defence. A leader from the back, Silva’s play has led him to be compared to legendary Italian defender Franco Baresi. Baresi, regarded as one of the greatest defenders in football history, has gone on record to state that Silva is the defender who most resembles him, and said in June 2012 that Silva was his “heir”. His leadership skills are also apparent through his success in captaining Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain.
Silva is heralded as one of the fastest defenders in European football, and has been described as a strong defender with good aerial ability. He combines these physical gifts with a phenomenal tactical intelligence and knowledge of the game, as well as an excellent positional sense. Thanks to his abilities, he excels at reading and anticipating plays and is excellent at closing down opposing players in possession of the ball. Hailed as the best of the new breed of defenders composed in possession, able to create chances for his team from the back Silva is a defender who is universally praised, being voted as one of the top two central defenders in Europe for three consecutive years.
- As of 27 September 2017
- As of 6 September 2017
|Brazil national team|
- Scores and results list Brazil’s goal tally first.
|1.||30 May 2012||FedExField, Landover, United States||United States||Friendly|
|2.||10 September 2013||Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, United States||Portugal||Friendly|
|3.||4 July 2014||Estdio Castelo, Fortaleza, Brazil||Colombia||2014 FIFA World Cup|
|4.||21 June 2015||Estadio Monumental David Arellano, Santiago, Chile||Venezuela||2015 Copa Amrica|
|5.||13 June 2017||Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia||Australia||Friendly|
- Paris Saint-Germain
- Ligue 1 (4): 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16
- Coupe de France (3): 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17
- Coupe de la Ligue (4): 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17
- Trophe des Champions (3): 2013, 2015, 2017
- Bola de Prata: 2007
- Brasileiro Fans’ Player of the Year: 2008
- Brasileiro Team of the Year: 2008
- Premio Armando Picchi: 2011
- Samba d’Or: 2011, 2012, 2013
- Serie A Team of the Year: 2010-11, 2011-12
- Ligue 1 Team of the Year: 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17
- Ligue 1 Player of the Month: March 2013
- UEFA Team of the Year: 2011, 2012, 2013
- UEFA Champions League Team of the Group Stage: 2015
- FIFA/FIFPro World XI: 2013, 2014, 2015
- FIFPro World XI 2nd team: 2016
- FIFA Confederations Cup All-Star Team: 2013
- FIFA Confederations Cup Castrol Index Top XI: 2013
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 2014
- FIFA World Cup Dream Team: 2014
- UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season: 2015-16