Thiago Silva credits Pep Guardiola for inadvertently convincing him to join Chelsea

Thiago Silva credits Pep Guardiola for inadvertently convincing him to join Chelsea

Thiago Silva has surprisingly admitted that he ‘didn’t like the Premier League’ but Pep Guardiola changed his mind, leading to him joining Chelsea.

The Brazil hero moved to Stamford Bridge on a free in 2020 having established himself as one of the best centre-backs in the world during spells at AC Milan and PSG.

Nevertheless, many would not have predicted that the veteran defender would still be playing for Chelsea – and to a great standard – over three years later at the age of 39.

He has helped the Blues win the Champions League, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup, as well as reach three domestic cup finals, and was named Chelsea Player of the Year for last season.

Silva was subbed on during last week’s 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace, in the process making his 100th Premier League appearance.

But as he reflected on reaching this impressive milestone, the player made a rather interesting admission, saying he only became interested in playing in England after Manchester City boss Guardiola had effectively changed the game.

‘No man, no. I never imagined I would play in the Premier League one day,’ Silva told ESPN when asked if he thought he would reach a century of matches.

‘It was one, with all due respect, football that I didn’t like. Because I thought it was a lot of aerial balls, get up here, fight there.

‘I never really liked it even though I’m good in the air and adapt well. I thought I wouldn’t play here.

‘I think one of those responsible for this change, I think, is Pep Guardiola, right? He plays more. The others don’t try to copy but they look to play more. Because this is beautiful football to watch.

‘And from that moment on I became interested. I watched more at home. Chelsea’s proposal came and I didn’t think twice.’

It is perhaps ironic that Guardiola was pivotal to Chelsea signing Silva given that the defender would start the 2021 Champions League final where the Blues defeated the Citizens 1-0.

The City boss has largely been credited with teams in England adopting more possession-based brands of football, where goalkeepers are good with their feet and passing out from the back is mandatory.

Silva’s contract expires in the summer, though there have been discussions over an extension meaning the defender could still be playing in blue in his forties.

For now, he could next be in action on Saturday evening when Chelsea host Preston in the FA Cup third round.

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