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).

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
News
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
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

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments