Thiago Silva says it's strictly business for Brazil at the Olympics

World's most expensive defender tells Andy Brassell the quest for first Olympic gold is no laughing matter

As the dust settled after Brazil's comprehensive win over Team GB in Middlesbrough last Friday, there was little of the normal hand-wringing that accompanies international defeat among the hosts. Craig Bellamy emerged from the Riverside's changing rooms in positively sunny mood. His team-mate Jack Cork recognised the difference in the two teams' respective outlooks, telling journalists: "They're taking it very seriously, and we're taking it quite seriously."

Thiago Silva was the image of the Brazilians; sturdy, serious and upright. While the soundtrack of samba drums followed Mano Menezes' team to the North-east of England, as it does everywhere, there was a distinct lack of frivolity around the team. Both they and Silva, now the most expensive defender in the world, mean business in Britain.

Silva has had a busy couple of weeks. A fortnight ago, he completed a move from Milan to Paris St-Germain for an initial €42m (£32.75m). The world-record deal for a defender was sealed at the second attempt, after Silvio Berlusconi personally pulled the plug on last month's initial agreement at the eleventh hour.

"I went through quite an unsettling time," he told The Independent after the match. "On the first try, we were frustrated. For the second time it was a bit more… I suppose we could say complicated, because I was focused on the national team and then news was coming to me [at the training camp] that the discussions had reopened, so I was having to put myself back into that a little bit. Thank God everything was resolved before the start of the Olympics, so I could just concentrate on this, and look towards our objectives [in this tournament]."

It has been made clear that those objectives comprise making the most of some rare competitive games on the road to hosting World Cup 2014 – and claiming a first Olympic gold, an unscratched itch that is driving Brazil to distraction. Team GB may have been amenable first opponents since reaching British shores, but Silva believes his team's performance spoke of a group mentally and physically ready for bigger challenges to come. "It was a game that went to the plan that we expected it to," he nodded. "We had a few difficulties at the start, but then we managed to control it all the way through to the end. The whole team put plenty of good pressure on them and we created a lot of clear goalscoring opportunities."

Similarly dominant performances will be expected of Silva's new club when he gets to work shortly after the Olympics. With the start of the Ligue 1 season just over a fortnight away, Silva is not expected to get a break before attempting to meet the sizeable expectation of his new public.

Having admitted last week that his decision to leave Milan was "not 100 per cent mine", he is eager to get started alongside fellow Rossoneri alumnus Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Like the Swede, he was swayed to move to France by PSG's naked ambition. "It's a club that's growing every day and every year," he enthused, "and like Ibra said, [PSG] have managed to form a Dream Team in reality."

The 27-year-old is clearly pleased with the acquisitions of some fellow stars of Serie A, but was already impressed by the ability of the squad Carlo Ancelotti inherited. "They've already put together a very strong team," he said. "All the defence is strong, the midfield is of very high quality with [Momo] Sissoko and Thiago Motta, who got within one game of winning the Euros. The front line is something you can't argue with, with the two players who have arrived now [Ezequiel] Lavezzi [from Napoli] and Ibra, to add to Nene and [Jérémy] Ménez, who were already there."

Unlike Ibrahimovic, Silva is yet to be presented to the fans, having signed his contract in Brazil's training camp. Perhaps the most notable facet of Ibrahimovic's own debut press conference was the rhetoric of club president Nasser al-Khelaifi, rather than anything the player himself said. Khelaifi didn't once mention the Ligue 1 title that France already assumes PSG will coast to. His aim is the Champions League, and conquering the world.

His new centre-back is clearly thinking along the same lines, despite ostensibly wishing to avoid putting the cart before the horse. "Look, we have to work hard every day first," he warned, "but we have an idea of what we want to do. We have a team that can make history."

Firstly, he will aim to do likewise for Brazil. "We stood up for ourselves well defensively [against GB], and stuck to our task well. In attack, Hulk and Neymar are very direct and put a lot of pressure on the opposition." As Silva says, PSG don't yet have a monopoly on the world's best attacking players. Brazil are ready to fire.

Beautiful Games?

Brazil's Olympic football record

1952, Helsinki Quarter-finals

1956, Melbourne Did not qualify

1960, Rome Group stage

1964, Tokyo Group stage

1968, Mexico City Group stage

1972, Munich Group stage

1976, Montreal Fourth place

1980, Moscow Did not qualify

1984, Los Angeles Runners-up

1988, Seoul Runners-up

1992, Barcelona Did not qualify

1996, Atlanta Third place

2000, Sydney Quarter-finals

2004, Athens Did not qualify

2008, Beijing Third place

Medal total Two silvers (1984, 1988) and two bronzes (1996, 2008).

Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
News
people'When I see people who look totally different, it brings me back to that time in my life'
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
A photograph taken by David Redferm of Sonny Rollins
people
News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker