Thiago Silva hands Chelsea boost after revealing plan to emulate Paolo Maldini

Silva spent half-a-season alongside Maldini in the AC Milan defence in 2009

<p>Thiago Silva believes that he still has plenty left in the tank </p>

Thiago Silva believes that he still has plenty left in the tank

Thiago Silva has revealed that he hopes to emulate Paolo Maldini and play beyond the age of 40.

The Brazilian defender, 37, recently extended his Chelsea contract by a further season until the summer of 2023.

Having spent the final half-a-season of Maldini’s career alongside the Italian in AC Milan’s defence, Silva was offered an insight into what enabled the defender to have such longevity.

Maldini made his debut in 1985 at the Lombardy club and went on to play more than 900 times, before retiring at the age of 40 in 2009.

Silva believes that he extend his career similarly, and thinks he still has plenty left to give at the top level after changing his approach to ensure he recovers properly between games.

“I hope I can do the same thing that [Paolo] Maldini did at Milan, playing until he was 40 or 41 years old,” Silva told the Chelsea club website. “That’s my plan for the immediate future and I have prepared myself for that.

“When you’re young, you think you’re a superhero. I’d play one game a day so in terms of recovery it was a lot quicker, whereas now 24 hours seems like no time at all in which to recover.

“You’ve always got to be active and up to speed with the new recovery methods out there. I’ve got lots of things I do at home like physio work, and nowadays I’ve got a better diet than before. You need to fuel yourself well, not with the bad stuff.

“This is part of what I’ve got to do so that I can optimise this recovery process, which for me needs to be quicker.”

Silva contemplated retirement from football after a health scare at Dynamo Moscow in 2005.

He spent six months in hospital after being diagnosed with tuberculosis, but was persuaded to continue his career by his mother.

After returning to his native Brazil, Silva reignited his career at Fluminense before moving to Milan.

The centre-half joined Chelsea on an initial one-year deal in 2020 after a long spell at Paris Saint-Germain, and insists he “never had any doubts” that he would be able to perform after moving to London.

“I wasn’t apprehensive but after eight years at a club, I was making such a big move at what is theoretically the tail end of my career, for many players at least,” Silva said.

“So many people had their doubts whether I’d be able to play to the same standard here as I did at PSG but I never had any doubts of how I’d perform for the club. I feel like I’ve kept up my standard here at Chelsea bearing in mind it’s the best league in the world.

“I left a big club but joined a big one as well. I stayed at a high level and I’m really proud of how it’s gone but it’s been a lot of hard work to keep up those high standards.”

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