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Thiago Silva on leadership, language and going from facing Bayern to Barnsley | Official Site

Our new defender has been discussing what qualities he can bring to the Chelsea defence and the shock illness that almost ruined his football career...

Thiago Silva has won 20 major honours during a distinguished football career at club level, as well as the Copa America and Confederations Cup for Brazil, for whom he has 89 caps. However, all these achievements might not have been possible given a shocking diagnosis for tuberculosis when he was just 20 years old playing on loan in Russia.

‘It was one of the worst experiences in my life because you have a dream to be playing as a professional footballer and when I got tuberculosis, it seemed that the dream would be over,’ he recalled.

‘Thank God, I had the strength to overcome it and get well. It’s difficult to talk about because it brings back these memories - I remember my last day in the hospital, the doctor told me that I hadn’t been cured, that I needed an operation on my lung and that my football career would be over.

‘The specialists helped me get better and with dedication, I managed to return to play football. It’s really difficult, something not many people have gone through in their lives and a lot of people haven’t recovered in the past so I think about it a lot.

‘Thankfully, I had the strength to overcome it and now today I can say I’m a champion not just in football but also in life.’

-Begin your build-up to our Carabao Cup tie with all the necessary facts and figures

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