Unlike some who make a mistake and let emotions affect their play, center back Thiago Silva turns his frustration into a unique superpower. When Silva makes a mistake he tends to play more focused, more aggressive and more determined. Messing up tends to be a downfall, leading to frustration for many footballers, but for Silva he gains the control and precision of Spiderman.
Early on in Thiago Silva’s career he saw his fair share of adversity, but he never gave up. Growing up playing youth football for a club in the Campo Grande neighborhood, a feeder club to Flumanaise, he would eventually join the first squad.
But with little opportunity for playing time he decided to move on. Silva was rejected more than once from Brazilian clubs Madureira, Olaria, and Flamengo.
Finally he found a club that would take him on; second division Brazilian team Barcelona. He would begin his professional career.
At the age of 20 Silva moved to club Juventude in the Brazilian first division. During his time at the club, Juventude jumped from finishing in 18th place in 2003 to finishing 7th in 2004. From there he was signed by FC Porto in 2004, but largely trained and played with the reserve squad.
When Silva’s career took him to Europe he faced numerous medical issues, including a near death case of tuberculosis. As a result, most of the major clubs wrote him off, never thinking he had the potential to become a world-class player. Silva moved on to team Dynamo Moscow where he hoped he would make the starting squad.
He didn’t end up making a single start as a result of catching Tuberculosis, experiencing a near death encounter. Silva’s near death experience forced him to consider retiring at an early age, but after some convincing from his mother he decided to stick through his football career.
It wasn’t until A.C. Milan did Silva begin to rise to the status of superstar. Coming off a dismal season at Dynamo Moscow where he didn’t start a single match in the 2005-2006 season Silva switched positions from midfield the back line.
Switching position finally unlocked his true potential, and his yet to be discovered superpower.
1. November 8, 2011 A.C. Milan vs. Lazio
Thiago Silva scored a demoralizing own goal to start off the match. Turning it around, he would score a goal to help A.C. Milan win 2-1. Showing himself a move to the back-line wasn’t just practical, but also provided more chances for glory.
In 2012, Silva made a switch with striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to make a move away from the San Siro to, rising french hopeful, Paris Saint-Germain.
2. February 9th, 2014 Paris Saint-Germain vs. Monaco
In one of his first matches with Paris Saint-Germain Thiago Silva battled against French league rivals Monaco. He accidentally hit the ball into his own goal to start the game off, a soul crushing mistake to most, but an opportunity for Silva.
Despite Silva’s earlier mistake, he would make crucial interventions throughout the match, including a last-man block against Monaco forward Emmanuel Rivière.
3. April 2, 2014 1st Round Chelsea vs. Paris Saint-Germain
In the Champions League quarter-finals against Chelsea, Silva conceded his first penalty in over three years but recovered well in the 3–1 first leg victory.
In similar fashion, he simply wouldn’t let it go, but in the end it wasn’t enough when Chelsea beat PSG in the second leg.
4. Mar 11, 2015 2nd Leg Chelsea vs. Paris Saint-Germain
The stakes are always high in the Champions League, but for this matchup Silva had a score to settle. Joined by former Chelsea defender David Luiz, the reminder of last year’s defeat raised tensions to a possible maximum.
Silva gave up a hand ball in the box to send Eden Hazard up for a penalty kick. Hazard would score from the spot, and give Chelsea the lead in overtime. Activating his power, Silva would come up for a corner just after Luiz ripped a free-kick from outside the 18.
Silva would ping a laser of a header only to see the Chelsea keeper make an incredible save. Seconds after, Silva would step up again and score the game winning goal. Not just any goal, but an arching beauty of a header just out of the Chelsea keeper, Courtois’ reach.
Paris Saint-Germain’s come from behind win in the champions league game against Chelsea could not have been a greater display of determination and heart.
5. July 4th, 2014 Brazil vs. Colombia
In the quarter final match in the World Cup, Silva unleashed his inner defensive beast, but it didn’t end up serving Brazil in the next round.
Scoring a goal in the 7th minute Silva didn’t need to unleash his rage. As tensions rose, Silva incurred a second yellow card, disqualifying himself from the next game.
Scoring too early for Silva can cause the opposite reaction to his superpower. One could say that it might be his very own kryptonite.
Time and again Silva has sacrificing emotional and physical well being, for the love of the game. His self-control, discipline and emotional maturity have pulled his team out of the dumps more than once. While the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mario Balotelli may score some great goals, that’s only if they are playing well. When they lose their cool their performance is dramatically affected.
There’s always hope in football, and in the end it’s determination that sometimes says more than the scoreline. Football isn’t always fair, so more than anything it’s about handling the times when things don’t go a player’s way.
Redemption is always at hand in football. All you have to do is play on, just ask Thiago Silva.