“Unmask him, isn’t he 20?”… Pochettino on 39-year-old Thiago Silva.

Thiago Silva’s skills never die.

“Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino was full of praise for Thiago Silva’s outstanding performance against Luton Town,” British outlet Goal.com reported on Jan. 31 (ET).

Chelsea earned a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Luton Town in the 20th round of the 2023/24 English Premier League (EPL) at Kenilworth Road in Luton, England on Sept. 30. Again, Thiago Silva showed class.

Thiago Silva is not a tall center back, but he uses his football intelligence, positioning, leaping ability, and quickness to defend. When defending, he is at his best one-on-one, making clean tackles and using his anticipation to make interceptions with a slight extension of his foot. He also has the build-up ability of a modern center back.

The 39-year-old started his career with AC Milan. A member of the club since 2009, he was considered an integral part of Milan’s core and wore the captain’s armband until the 2011/12 season, when they won the title back from Inter Milan in 2010/11.

At the peak of his powers in 2012, he moved to Paris Saint-Germain and immediately established himself as one of the best center backs in the French Ligue 1. He stayed with the club until the 2019/20 season, scoring 17 goals and providing eight assists in 315 games and winning seven league titles, although they failed to win the Champions League.

He joined Chelsea in 2020 looking for a new challenge and was expected to be a regular substitute due to his age, but he was a shining light in the Chelsea defense, leading the Blues defense with two goals in 36 games and achieving the dream of winning the Champions League with Thomas Tuchel and Paris.

He played a lot of games in the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons, even as the team crashed and burned, with some saying he was overworked at his age, and he was named Chelsea Player of the Year despite the team finishing 12th in the 2022/23 season.

In the 2023/24 season, he is still a key part of the team. He has started all 19 Premier League games this season, having been a regular since preseason. Against Luton Town, he anchored the Chelsea defense for the entire 90 minutes, including a tense final 10 minutes that helped the Blues take all three points.

Thiago Silva completed 88% of his passes, 67% of his long passes, made 10 interceptions, cleared five headers, made three recoveries, and won 100% of his ground balls.

After the game, Pochettino told BBC Sport: “It’s amazing to see a 39-year-old still playing like a 20-year-old. He’s bringing his experience to the team and he’s doing really well. It’s been a great week. It feels great to start next year in a positive way and to finish 2023 in this way.”

With the three points, Chelsea moved to within one point of ninth-place Newcastle United and 12 points of fourth-place Arsenal. Thiago Silva, now 39, could stay on next season to help hold the young team together, but there’s always the possibility of additional signings.


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