It’s been a long, patient wait for Thiago Silva.
After leading Brazil to the 2014 World Cup as captain, the Paris Saint-Germain defender lost the armband when Dunga was appointed to replace Luiz Felipe Scolari, and then lost his place in the side completely.
The 32-year-old returns to the starting line-up on Friday for what will be his first start for his country in two years, when the Selecao host Argentina on the Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
“After a long period out, I return in a different headspace, more experienced, but with the same desire of the little boy who wants to play football,” Thiago Silva told a press conference at the MCG.
“It’s always a great pleasure to wear the shirt. I've missed it, but now is a time when I have to demonstrate my worth again, to show what I am capable of, to prove my loyalty and how hard I will work.”
Thiago Silva’s last start came at the Copa America in 2015, when his handball gave Paraguay the chance to equalise and ultimately saw the Selecao exit in the first knockout round via a penalty-shootout.
He was not called up to the squad until a year later when Dunga was dismissed.
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“From the moment Tite called me back into the Selecaoo, it was because he had confidence in my work.
“The most important thing about being named captain again is that it shows I have the respect of my coach, the coaching staff and, above all, my players that I will have to lead.”
While Dunga caused friction by stripping Thiago Silva of the captaincy and handing it to Neymar as his first piece of business following his appointment in 2014, Tite has elected to rotate the captaincy around the squad.
Thiago Silva returns to the starting line-up this month after first-choice pairing Marquinhos and Miranda were given a summer break by coach Tite, who has spoken glowingly of Thiago Silva’s commitment to the cause as a reserve in the squad that has marched to eight consecutive World Cup qualifying victories.
"I still have some dreams as any professional,” he added.
“I am quite dreamy but hardworking too, because it is not enough only to dream. There are two excellent players in the role, Marquinhos and Miranda, but just coming back into squad made me extremely happy, and those who are happy do things naturally.
“It gives me peace of mind to get on with my work, because helping the Selecao in any way possible is always the main objective.”
Friday’s training session at the MCG saw Tite confirm his starting XI, with his side set to line-up as follows:
Weverton; Fagner, Thiago Silva, Gil, Filipe Luis; Fernandinho; Paulinho, Renato Augusto, Philippe Coutinho, Willian; Gabriel Jesus (4-1-4-1).