Chelsea star Thiago Silva out to emulate AC Milan icon Maldini by playing into his 40s

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Chelsea defender Thiago Silva has expressed a desire to emulate the efforts of AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini by playing on into his 40s.

The vastly-experienced Brazil international will turn 37 in September, but he has committed to a 12-month contract extension at Stamford Bridge and is showing no sign of slowing down.

Champions League glory was savoured with the Blues last season and, as he now chases down a Copa America crown with his country, Silva has no imminent retirement plans in place.

What has been said?

Silva has told reporters of trying to emulate an iconic defender that spent 25 years with Serie A giants Milan: "I hope I can do the same thing that Paolo Maldini did at Milan, playing until he was 40 or 41 years old.

"That’s my plan for the immediate future. I have prepared myself for that and now at 36 years old I continue to play at a high level and that gives me a great deal of pride."

How long can Silva continue?

Thiago Silva Chelsea 2020-21

Chelsea jumped at the chance to snap up Silva when his contract at Paris Saint-Germain came to an end in the summer of 2020.

Age was no barrier for them and a productive, if slightly injury-impacted, debut campaign in west London convinced all parties to agree an extended stay.

The commanding centre-half believes he can continue to thrive at the very highest level, although he concedes that his workload now needs to be managed.

He added: "From this moment on I have to live each season and each competition.

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"I play very carefully because my physique is no longer the same as it was two or three years ago and the recovery from one game to another takes longer."

Once international duty with Brazil comes to a close, Silva will start counting down the days to Chelsea's clash with Villarreal in the UEFA Super Cup on August 11 and a 2021-22 Premier League opener against Crystal Palace three days later.

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