By Nick Purewal, PA
Thomas Tuchel has hailed Thiago Silva as football’s answer to Benjamin Button after the veteran Brazil defender rubber-stamped a third year at Stamford Bridge.
Silva completed a one-year contract extension on Monday to remain at Chelsea until the summer of 2023, in which time he will pass his 38th birthday.
The centre-back continues to belie his age with his accomplished and physical performances, leaving boss Tuchel suitably impressed.
— Thiago Silva (@tsilva3) January 3, 2022
“He is the Benjamin Button of football,” said Tuchel, likening Silva to the Hollywood film character who aged in reverse.
“I know how much work, how much professional attitude is behind that.
“It is a miracle in a way because with this league, this schedule, this intensity of a daily business at the very end of his career, it was a very brave decision for him but I know how much effort he puts in to stay fit.
“Off the pitch, taking care of his recovery, sleep, nutrition, this is simply outstanding and only because of that it is possible.”
Silva will pass 20 years of senior football in 2022 and only experienced the Premier League for the first time when joining Chelsea in 2020.
He has helped transform Chelsea’s tactical approach, as astute in reading opposition attacks as developing play on the ball.
And Tuchel revealed the former Fluminense, AC Milan and Paris St Germain star’s emotional intelligence also continues to play a vital role behind the Stamford Bridge scenes.
“We are happy because the new new contract makes him calm, he needs to be calm as he is a very sensitive and emotional person,” said Tuchel.
“This makes him also so precious for our team and dressing room, he can feel emotions and different ones from others so can help so much.
“He is calm, he has huge targets and will have a big impact when he is available. It is good for him and good for us.”
Silva’s new deal, while anticipated for some time, still eases the defensive flux at Chelsea.
Andreas Christensen, club captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger all remain out of contract in the summer and can now talk to foreign teams on pre-contract agreements.
Rudiger had been heavily linked with Real Madrid although that interest appears to be on the wane.
While the Germany defender has yet to make any decisions on his future, Tuchel insisted Chelsea remain in the frame.
Asked if Rudiger will stay at Chelsea beyond the end of the current campaign, Tuchel replied: “Well, I cannot predict the future, I don’t know if his representatives talk to other clubs.
“If you know so or assume so, fair enough.
“Of course it’s possible because it’s January and he has not signed yet. But as I understand it, we are in communication with him. The club is in communication with him.
“I know, or I assume, he is very aware of what I demand from him, and how I appreciate to work with him.
“The level on which he’s playing is still super high and outstanding and there are no doubts that the situation is a concern for that.
“Well, the point is very clear, my opinion is very clear, the club is trying the very best and there are communications going on. And that has not changed at all.”