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The Swedish striker believes that the Brazil international is the finest defender he has ever come across during his long and illustrious career

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has claimed that AC Milan team-mate Thiago Silva is not only better than Barcelona defenders Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol, the Brazilian is also on another level to legendary duo Lilian Thuram and Fabio Cannavaro.

The Swedish striker has lined out for Ajax, Juventus, Inter and Barcelona during his illustrious career and he claims that nobody stands up to the current Rossoneri centre-back.

"When I see Thiago Silva play, I see myself - but as a defender,” Ibrahimovic mused during an interview with Milan Channel.

“I think that at the moment Thiago is the most complete defender in the world. I'm lucky to play with a player like him.

“I've played with some great defenders like Thuram, Cannavaro, Pique and Puyol, but, if you ask me, Thiago Silva plays on another level.”

Ibrahimovic was speaking ahead of the Milan derby, a fixture he is more familiar with than most having previously represented the Nerazzurri but one that he never gets tired of playing in.

“As you get closer to the derby game the pressure always rises,” the 30-year-old forward explained. “The papers give it a lot of coverage.

“There's also the prestige of the two clubs at stake. It's a huge game; the whole world is watching. And it's a great game to able to play in.

“There are not a lot of players who get to play in these type of games. It's a great game to be able to play in. It's a derby.”

Ibrahimovic left Inter for Barcelona in 2009 before returning to Italy the following summer to link up with Milan.

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