The Chelsea defender marked his 38th birthday today and was celebrated by his club. At 38 years, Thiago Silva still plays actively for club and country. The Brazilian is currently with the national team in France, readying for a set of friendly matches against Ghana and Tunisia. In exactly nine weeks, he will be hoping to lead the Selecao into their opening World Cup group game in his fourth tournament, desperate to triumph and lift one trophy that has up to this point eluded him.
While his vast experience will undoubtedly prove vital to Tite’s men in Qatar, Thiago Silva will not even be in the top 10 oldest players to feature at a World Cup and is positively youthful when compared to the tournament’s most senior representative, Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, who played in Russia at the age of 45.
Yet competing on the highest levels both for club and country is not easy when you reach your late thirties, and so no stone is left unturned in the quest for fitness and match preparedness.
‘It’s significant for me that I can play on this level at this age, but it’s not easy, especially in the Premier League,’ he said recently.
‘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 one, so you have to be ready all the time. I might be 38 years old, but I think I can help this team as much as possible.’
‘There are many things that help and players are also more professional now,’ he explained. ‘Players are like athletes today. The mental aspect is also essential.
‘You know that you need to have a calm head because if you do other things outside the field, you will be tired. That’s my opinion. The players are more professional now than before.’
Being involved in the World Cup has been Thiago Silva’s long-stated aim, but he also harbours ambitions of extending his stay at Stamford Bridge beyond the length of his current contract, which expires next summer.
He uses the example of his former AC Milan team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimović, who he may come up against in the Champions League next month, as motivation to continue playing at the highest level for as long as his body allows.
‘I often talk with Zlatan and recently more often because Chelsea will play against AC Milan in the Champions League,’ he added. I aim to play until I’m 40 years old, but I don’t know whether 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, I aim to play until I’m 40.’