AC Milan's Thiago Silva has admitted that the imminent departure of Alessandro Nesta only puts more pressure on his shoulders, but he is confident that he is up to the task of trying to fill void left by the legendary centre-half because he was asked to do the same when Paolo Maldini left San Siro.
Nesta announced on Thursday that he will not be signing a new deal with the Rossoneri and his central defensive colleague is well aware that the onus will be on him to ensure that the World Cup winner is not missed.
“Being here carries a great responsibility,” the Brazil international told reporters on Friday. “Previously, I had the responsibility of being heir to Paolo Maldini because I took his place in the team and now there is another great player stopping in Nesta ... It is sincerely difficult to describe a great champion like him.
“He’s a great man, he helped me a lot in these last two years we have played together and I’m so sorry [he's leaving] because he is so good for the squad and for keeping dressing room together too. With his departure, Milan loses on both counts.”
With Gennaro Gattuso, Filippo Inzaghi, Clarance Seedorf and Gianluca Zambrotta also heading for the exit door at Milanello, Thiago Silva admits that the Rossoneri will struggle to find adequate replacements.
However, he is confident that Massimiliano Allegri still has sufficient quality and experience available to ensure that Milan remain competitive next season.
"Great champions are leaving us," the 27-year-old Rio de Janeiro native conceded. "It is not easy to immediately replace them.
“If you make a new team and change 100 per cent or many pieces at once, it is not easy to be competitive, so you have to have quality players, personalities like Zlatan Ibrahimovic become more valuable.
“Milan is not just about Thiago Silva, there are many quality players that will help us begin again.
"With the players that are staying, like Antonio Nocerino, who has done well, and Ibra, then we can start to again do well.”
Milan wrap up their Serie A campaign against Novara at the Giuseppe Meazza on Sunday.