Now Tia­go can win a tro­phy that is still miss­ing from his col­lec­tion.

Chelsea announced on their offi­cial web­site that Thi­a­go Sil­va will leave at the end of the sea­son. The team vet­er­an record­ed a touch­ing video mes­sage in which he expressed hope that he would return to Stam­ford Bridge.

“Farewells are for those who leave and nev­er return. I hope that one day I will appear here again,” said the Brazil­ian.

The Last Veteran

Sil­va end­ed up at Chelsea in the sum­mer of 2020 dur­ing the pan­dem­ic sea­son. There were doubts then that the 35-year-old Brazil­ian would cope with the intense Eng­lish foot­ball. How­ev­er, there was no risk — not a pound was paid for it. Four years lat­er he would leave Lon­don as a Blues leg­end.

Sil­va’s Chelsea career got off to a ter­ri­ble start. It seemed that the 35-year-old defend­er did not fit into the young gang assem­bled by Frank Lam­pard and Roman Abramovich.

The debut match in the Pre­mier League against West Bromwich (3:3) — the wildest num­ber of mis­takes in defense. Thi­a­go did­n’t just fail that meet­ing, he failed it as a cap­tain.

“Already at Dynamo it was clear that Thi­a­go Sil­va is a great defend­er.” Der­ley col­umn

Despite the huge flow of crit­i­cism, the Brazil­ian still set­tled into the team. He did not work with Lam­pard for long, but in his farewell let­ter he paid spe­cial atten­tion to him:

“Because of the way I came into the club, because of the sup­port of the club, I became a leader, although I didn’t feel that way as a new­com­er. It’s always dif­fi­cult to inte­grate into a new team, but grad­u­al­ly I became part of the group and Lam­pard played a big role in that. I thank him for this,” Tia­go said.

Then Thomas Tuchel came to the club. Under him, Sil­va became a key fig­ure in the back three and gave the defense reli­a­bil­i­ty. Thi­a­go is one of the few who dragged Chelsea to a vic­to­ri­ous Cham­pi­ons League final. He impressed man­age­ment so much with his per­for­mance that his con­tract was extend­ed for anoth­er year.

The Brazil­ian vet­er­an caught dif­fer­ent ver­sions of Chelsea. At some point, it seemed that Sil­va had com­plete­ly for­got­ten about his age. Blues fans also noticed this, com­par­ing him to Ben­jamin But­ton, the hero of a famous Hol­ly­wood film.

This sea­son it became notice­able that Thi­a­go had lost a lit­tle. On the field he is still an impor­tant play­er, able to cov­er younger team­mates well, but in some areas he cer­tain­ly lacks speed and sharp­ness. In addi­tion, the Brazil­ian was tired from a psy­cho­log­i­cal point of view. Age takes its toll, so the deci­sion to leave the club is absolute­ly log­i­cal.

There will not be a sin­gle play­er over 30 left at Chelsea this sum­mer.

Akela leaves. The pack needs a new leader.

Pho­to by Reuters

Coaching career at Chelsea?

In the sum­mer, Sil­va will sign a con­tract with Flu­mi­nense, his home club, where he start­ed at a very young age. He was offered an agree­ment until Decem­ber 2025. Dur­ing this time, Tia­go will have a chance to win the Copa Lib­er­ta­dores — one of the few tro­phies that he does not already have in his rich col­lec­tion.

At the same time, Sil­va receives a UEFA coach­ing license B. Mauri­cio Pochet­ti­no has already invit­ed the play­er to join his coach­ing staff in the future. The Blues man­age­ment is also inter­est­ed in the Brazil­ian return­ing to the club sys­tem after fin­ish­ing his play­ing career.

Thi­a­go Sil­va: “My goal is to play until I’m 40”

The Chelsea head coach has used him sev­er­al times this sea­son to com­mu­ni­cate with young play­ers. For exam­ple, in a match against Aston Vil­la (2:2), Sil­va said impor­tant words in the lock­er room, which helped the team not only equal­ize the score, but almost snatch vic­to­ry.

He became a men­tor for young tal­ents, shar­ing his wealth of expe­ri­ence and help­ing them devel­op. With Sil­va’s lead­er­ship qual­i­ties, expe­ri­ence and grow­ing coach­ing ambi­tions, he can cer­tain­ly be a valu­able asset to the Chelsea coach­ing staff.

“I hope to leave the door open to return to the club in the near future, albeit in a dif­fer­ent role. My love for Chelsea can­not be described in words,” Thi­a­go said in a farewell video.