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Why I am bewitched by Thiago Silva

Thank you, Elaine, for the title. I am here to explain why Thiago Silva is, in my view, Milan's best and most important player. With Milan fans worldwide buying number 33 shirts and trembling at the thought of the player who wears that number leaving for Barcelona, there are as always those who are a bit skeptical. Comparisons with Maldini and Baresi are especially troubling to those who aren't fans of the Brazilian - but what's the problem when the two great captains themselves support such claims?


Comparisons with Maldini are perhaps misplaced. After all, Paolo was a completely different kind of player. As for comparisons with Baresi, it was Maldini who said:

“Certainly, Thiago shows that security that characterized Franco when he used to play,” Maldini said. “For one reason or another, when Baresi came off during the break or during the game, we all felt his loss and I think the same thing is happening now with Thiago, because he gives so much security at the back.”

“Physically, Thiago is superior to Franco, but despite that, Franco was a monster from every other point of view. From a technical and tactical standpoint, Franco was number 1, no doubt about it.”

The above statement is perfectly accurate if you ask me - Baresi's tactical sense allowed for a high level of involvement in gameplay while remaining at the right position to stop any and all threats. A player like him will probably never appear again, but I'll dare say Thiago Silva is the closest thing in the world today.

Great defenders ar good at tackling, jumping, closing down and positioning - but only the greatest of the great always put themselves in a position to do all the above with routine and seemingly little effort. This is where Thiago Silva really reminds me of Franco Baresi. His presence in the back not only intimidates the opposition but allows his teammates to play with more freedom and security.

Whether he can be the kind of leader Maldini and Baresi were remains to be seen. Being a leader isn't synonymous with being a great player and it's hard to tell whether someone has those qualities until they've reached a certain age - an age Thiago Silva hasn't reached yet. At 26 years of age, he can hardly be expected to issue any orders to the likes of Nesta, Gattuso or Ambrosini. Maldini is perhaps unrivaled in that department and his shoes are unfilled as of yet, with the armband moving around between Ambrosini, Gattuso, Seedorf and Pirlo all last season. With all these veterans nearing the end of their careers at Milan, it wouldn't surprise me if the year 2013 found Thiago Silva sporting the captain's armband. After all, he displays the personality traits needed and he has the respect and trust of his team-mates.

As for rumors of departure, they're a bit ridiculous. Internet portals are as irresponsible and sensationalist as ever and some are even saying he's flirting with Barcelona in order to get a pay-rise from Milan. Really? Two weeks after he signed a 5 year extension? I could deal with any player leaving Milan, except for Pato and Thiago Silva. Thiago has to be the foundation Milan's success in the next couple of years is built on, and Pato should be that unpredictable weapon that turns good teams into CL contenders.

There's a reason the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona have shown interest in signing our no. 33 - he is one of the best there is and, at his age, can only get better. In my opinion, he is already the best defender in the world. Whoever disagrees, what I ask of you is simple - name someone better. Answers like 'Vidic a year ago' or 'Nesta 2 years ago' are not valid. We're not in 2009 anymore. Players age and new players fill their shoes.