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How Italian Greats Inspired Thiago Silva's Football Journey

Chelsea defender Thiago Silva recently revealed how a chance meeting with Italian football legend Paolo Maldini at the age of 24 changed his mentality and approach to the game. Silva, now 39, reflected on the impact Maldini and another Italian legend, Alessandro Nesta, had on his career during a recent interview.

He recalled that encountering Maldini sparked something within him, driving him to reach the same age level as the legendary Italian defender. Silva was deeply impressed by Maldini's professionalism, including his lifestyle choices – abstaining from drinking, smoking, and prioritizing sleep.

While he acknowledged that he could never match Maldini's performance level because there is only one Maldini, the encounter with the Italian legend motivated him to elevate his mentality and dedication to the game.

"Meeting Maldini sparked something in me," said Silva as FourFourTwo reported. "I was 24 when I arrived and looking at him made me think: 'The way I look after myself – I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't miss my sleep – means I can reach Maldini's level. Age level, I mean. Of course not performance level. There is only one Maldini. He certainly changed my mentality."

Silva also mentioned how Alessandro Nesta, who had recently returned from an operation during their time together, served as a mentor in training. Nesta's guidance and direction on the field helped Silva learn valuable lessons and improve as a player.

The ex-PSG and AC Milan star continued: "Not just him, but Alessandro Nesta as well. Nesta was a teacher for me in training. He had just come back from an operation, which made it a bit difficult for him, but he had me who could run around and help him. He told me where to go and I’d go. I did it with great pleasure because I always liked his way of being, his way of training and especially his quality. I realised that by playing with him I was going to learn a lot."

Silva's dedication to maintaining peak physical condition is evident through his rigorous recovery routine. He conducts post-training recovery at the club and spends two hours in a hyperbaric pressure chamber at home, prioritising recovery as a crucial aspect of his routine.

"I do the post-training recovery here at the club and two hours of rest in a hyperbaric (pressure) chamber at home. So it's much more recovery than actual work these days. Less is more."

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