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Grazie Thiago

He’s not even had his presentation yet with the new club, but watching him at the Olympics with Brazil, I thought I had better bite the bullet and send him off properly. With the initial sting of him leaving gone, the ache of seeing a Milan backline without him has set in, so by the time we actually see him in a PSG shirt, we may be a little more prepared with this new and terrible reality.

An incomprehensible loss

Losing Thiago this summer felt more like losing a family member. A close family member. Someone you had planned to love forever and grow old with. After all, he was going to be our future captain, and him patting or kissing the Milan badge on his shirt was like the warm embrace or kiss of a parent or sibling. And just like the sudden loss of a family member, we are all left behind, numb, angry, hurting, and asking why.

I think I’ve covered the why in any number of posts, and it’s not pretty. Berlusconi’s comments confirmed that the club’s finances are in very bad shape. But what of Thiago Silva? One of his first quotes was that “it was the hardest decision of his life.” Then he said it wasn’t his decision. Then his agent said he was a “star” and that he “made all of his own decisions.” Asking for a raise and a new contract made us question his intentions, and will always make this hurt a little more. But Milan gave him the new contract, and then turned and sold him anyway.The truth is probably that there was enormous pressure from Milan, an enormous temptation of higher wages and a new challenge, and enormous desire to stay at the club where he was supposed to be the next Maldini or Baresi. If the money and the loyalty to the club even out, you’re still left with the pressure. And while he could have done what Mesbah did and refused, I like to believe that in his heart, he was doing what he thought Milan needed him to do.

Strength on the pitch, strength of character... not easy to replace

But if that was true, he was wrong. He might not have realized how much more we needed his calm, strong presence in the defense. He probably didn’t realize how much his strength both in the air and on the ground would be sorely missed. He probably couldn’t have known that more than relieving Berlusconi’s financial crisis (which was of his own making,) we needed his loyalty, his values, and his example to the younger players. We needed his ability to teach others to defend like a knight and always be classy. Those are things you can’t put a price on, things that can’t easily be replaced.

Perhaps what our backline needs most

I can’t blame him for not knowing how much Milan needed him. He came to the club and had to wait 6+ months just to play due to being non-EU. After putting his faith in Milan, did Milan keep faith in him? Look at how he was put on the market like a piece of meat, then “saved” by a “generous gift from the President.” Then despite negotiating a new contract, put up for sale again. Look at how the Senatori were treated. Look at the way Allegri treated those he didn’t like. Look at how he himself was allowed to make a dumb decision to play injured at a crucial point in the season, a decision that quite possibly cost us the Scudetto. Why didn’t someone try to stop him? Why did they leave the decision solely on his shoulders? Look at how Pato was repeatedly injured, playing before he was fit and constantly re-injuring himself. Who would want to stay at a club that doesn’t take care of its players?

Best defender in the Serie A? Let's sell him. /facepalm

While we all would like to believe that he would have put up a bigger fight or flat out turned down the deal, I can’t say as though I blame him. It might have been harder to stay and watch the club replace talented older players with mid-career mediocre to poor players instead. As much as his heart may have been red and black, he is also a champion, and champions like to win. If the club was so desperate for money as to be willing to cash in on him and on Ibra, then they would likely be too desperate to fill the empty shoes with quality players that would be competitive.

This heartbreak won't be easy to get over

It hurts. It hurts to watch our defense without him. It hurts to see him playing at the Olympics knowing he is no longer “ours.” It hurts to think of a future Milan without him. They say time heals all wounds, but he left a gaping wound in our hearts. It could very well be a while before this one heals. So as he and Pato and Gabriel play tomorrow for Olympic gold, let’s just have one last farewell. Let’s show our gratitude for the heart-stopping tackles and saves, the confident last line of defense who could also get forward and make a difference when we needed it most. Grazie, Thiago. Your calm, sure presence in the back will always be in our hearts, too.



This post inspired by Jane Siberry’s “It Can’t Rain All The Time”