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Chelsea defender Thiago Silva blossomed more in his late twenties, as he joined AC Milan as a 24-year-old from Brazil.
After enduring a difficult start to life at Milan, it was three years later that Silva eventually started to blossom, and he has revealed a massive advice that was given to him by former boss Carlo Ancelotti, as he modelled his game after the legendary Paolo Maldini.
“He’s someone who I really love,” the 36-year-old told the official Chelsea website.
“I’m really happy to have worked with him at Milan and PSG but at Milan even more so because I’d come from Brazil, straight from Fluminense to Milan, and in the first six months I was unable to play because the slots for non-EU players were full.
“I just trained in these six months and Carlo took me to every game. He said that I had to gel as soon as possible and he gave me a piece of advice which I remember as if it were yesterday. He said to me, ‘Thiago, firstly learn the language and I’ll take you to all of the games, even away games, so that you can observe Maldini a bit.’
“So I learnt Italian and then looked at the way Maldini played. He was already 40 at the time but he was playing really well so I had a great learning experience. Maybe Maldini knows nothing of this, that Carlo said this to me, but my first six months were just studying the theory and the practice alongside top defenders and especially one of the best in history.
“Carlo has contributed a lot to my growth in Europe over the years I’ve been here, playing at the highest level. I owe this to Ancelotti.”
Thiago Silva will now come up against Ancelotti whom he knew from his time at AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.