The defender discusses how he masters rest, recovery and match preparation to remain at his peak for both club and country…
Thiago Silva will be a few months short of his 39th birthday when his current Chelsea contract is due to expire next summer, though there are no signs of the veteran defender slowing down anytime soon.
His commitment to representing Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar at the end of 2022 has been long-stated and his involvement in our FA Cup quarter-final win at Middlesbrough last weekend took him one clear of last season’s 34 club appearances.
In fact, only Jorginho and Antonio Rudiger have amassed more outfield minutes for the Blues in all competitions this campaign, a remarkable feat but one less surprising when you consider the extensive nature of his rest, recovery and match preparation.
Ever since he contracted tuberculosis as a 20-year-old playing on loan in Russia, an undignified illness that not only threatened his career but also his life, Thiago Silva has been well attuned to the cries and challenges of his body.
During three years at AC Milan, the centre-back benefited from working closely with the pioneering Milan Lab, a proactive painstakingly detailed programme that focused on preventing rather than treating injuries. Its methods were credited with helping Paolo Maldini play at the top level into his 40s, something Thiago Silva has previously admitted is an ambition of his own.
‘I hope I can do the same thing that Maldini did at Milan, playing until he was 40 or 41 years old,’ he said last year. ‘That’s my plan for the immediate future and I have prepared myself for that.’
Preparation is a byword for Thiago Silva’s longevity and there is plenty of thought that goes into how he spends every minute of his time in between games to ensure he arrives in peak physical condition for training and especially matches.