Thiago Silva: 'We don't want to settle for reaching the final'
The Brazilian defender tells PSGTV about an exciting week and looks ahead to Sunday's UEFA Champions League final.
Paris Saint-Germain must be doing something right at the back: they've got the best defence in the Champions League (5 goals). Thiago Silva has been key to that solidity, and the Rouge-et-Bleu captain cannot wait for Sunday's historic showdown with Bayern Munich.
How have you felt as the club has progressed through the competition?
It's been quite a thrill, since in the previous seasons we were knocked out in the Round of 16 for three consecutive times, and then in the quarter-finals you face a team that is strong defensively and to come from behind [to win]....So you see a movie playing on your head, 'Is it going to happen again?' In those moments, you must be mentally strong, as Tite would always stress in the [Brazilian] national team. We need to be mentally strong, and envisage the [right] outcome and the win. Making it to the final was a long-held dream of ours.
With the pandemic, this final, the club's 50th anniversary, the end of your contract...it's been quite a season for you, hasn't it?
I believe this is a unique season, because of everything we’ve been going through - the pandemic, the lockdown, this Covid-19 situation. It’s been very tough for us when it comes to preparations. We've spent virtually three months at home. Many players live at an apartment and struggled to follow what the club had set out for them, in terms of training and preparing… So, our comeback was a bit hard.
But we have everything in our hands to finish it the way we planned, as the club celebrates its 50th anniversary, in my last year of contract. As I played against Atalanta, I wasn’t sure if that was going to be my last one, or else if I’d have the chance to play another game.
And I can’t help having that thought in my mind, I think it’s just natural. But I’m quite calm, and quite happy with everything I’ve gone through at the club. And if this turns out to be my last game, I’ll be happy with it.
I was able to give everything that I could. And if I may go on playing for the club, then we’ll have a talk and decide what is best. But the most important is what we’ve been doing. This is history in the making, and we don’t plan to stop short [from winning the trophy].
When you look back, what stands out?
I feel happy, first, and very honoured to have been part of this team, having helped the evolution of the team. I got here in the 2012-2013 season, the team had recently welcomed the new owners from Qatar, with a goal, with big aspirations.
But in this whole process, we had a few disappointments, some joys, but the disappointments were very strong, the pressure was very strong. Especially on the team’s leaders, me, Ibra [Zlatan Ibrahimović] before me. We were under a lot of pressure for being leaders.
And, if we have gotten to this final, if we are celebrating to have reached this final, we also have to congratulate the players that came first, [Javier] Pastore, who left; Ibra, Maxwell, [Salvatore] Sirigu…They helped to rebuild the team, and if we got this far, we have to look back and thank those people.
But I’m very grateful, I’ll be grateful my whole life for everything I’ve experienced here. And I want to keep making history. We already made history by getting to the semi-finals after 25 years.
And now, getting to a final that we dreamed of, that we worked so much for, we’re really happy, but as I said before, we don’t want to stop this at the semi-finals.
Tell us about your final opponents, Bayern Munich...
Speaking of Bayern Munich is easy. All of us who enjoy football see Bayern Munich as a role model in both the European and world stage. A team that plays with a high intensity and has a lot of quality.
From their keeper, who is among the greatest in the world, to their striker who is the current top scorer in this season’s [UEFA] Champions League, and has been putting in great performances. Anyway, Bayern Munich must be regarded as one the best teams in the world.
We must respect their team, and try to play in our style, as we’ve been doing all season, to play at our highest level. And we’re aware of all that comes along with a final, the motivation on the other side. Unfortunately we won’t get that expected atmosphere of a final without the crowd.
So, this will be unlike any other final. But I’m sure they’ll get their game going, as we’ll try and play ours, hopefully more successfully.