Daily Express

TB al­most ru­ined my ca­reer when I was 21

THI­AGO RE­CALLS DARK DAYS OF DI­AG­NO­SIS

- By Matthew Dunn Sports · Soccer · Chelsea F.C. · Brazil · Brazil national football team · Stamford Bridge stadium · England national football team · England · Italy · Italy National Football Team · France · Frank Lampard · Rennes · Senegal national football team · Senegal · Ligue 1 · France national football team · Chelsea L.F.C. · Moscow · Petr Čech · Kepa Arrizabalaga

CHELSEA V BARNS­LEY 7.45PM

THI­AGO SILVA ad­mits his mind went back to the time his ca­reer was al­most ended by tu­ber­cu­lo­sis at the age of 21 as he com­pleted his move to Chelsea.

The Brazil de­fender cel­e­brated his 36th birth­day by pre­par­ing to make his de­but for the Blues against Barns­ley at Stam­ford Bridge tonight.

And how­ever suc­cess­ful his mis­sion to crack Eng­land is af­ter en­joy­ing spells in Italy and France, he is al­ready a “cham­pion” just by get­ting here.

“TB was one of the worst ex­pe­ri­ences in my life,” he said.

“I think about it a lot at these mo­ments – what I have been through. Thank­fully I had the strength to over­come it.

“Although it is dif­fi­cult to talk about it be­cause it brings back these mem­o­ries. I re­mem­ber my last day in hospi­tal. The doc­tor told me I had not been cured, I needed an op­er­a­tion on my lung and my foot­ball ca­reer would be fin­ished.

“I feel very grate­ful to my fam­ily and my wife – at the time she was my girl­friend, just 17 – who was very sup­port­ive and gave me the strength to get over it so that I was able then to chase my dreams again.

“Now I can say to­day that I am a cham­pion not just in foot­ball, but also in life.”

It was his wife Is­abelle and his mother who per­suaded Thi­ago not to have part of his lung re­moved af­ter he was di­ag­nosed with the ill­ness dur­ing a loan stint with Dy­namo Moscow in 2005.

Thi­ago went on to cap­tain his coun­try and still hopes to take them to the World Cup in 2022 at the age of 38.

He is hav­ing English lessons five days a week to help him ful­fil the role he was re­cruited by Chelsea to per­form.

With so many young tal­ents in and around the squad, man­ager Frank Lam­pard wants some­body who can be his leader on the pitch.

“I would like to send a mes­sage to the young peo­ple to tell them to re­ally make the most of their lives,” said Thi­ago.

“If some­body is play­ing, they should ded­i­cate them­selves to foot­ball. To pull on a Chelsea shirt is an im­mense re­spon­si­bil­ity and a great source of pride.”

Edouard Mendy is on the verge of a £ 22mil­lion move to Chelsea af­ter Lam­pard told tech­ni­cal direc­tor Petr Cech to iden­tify the goal­keeper best able to match his own ti­tle- win­ning abil­ity.

Rennes and Sene­gal keeper Mendy had a med­i­cal yes­ter­day, with first- choice Kepa Ar­riz­a­bal­aga com­ing un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure for his place.

“Ev­ery goal­keeper has a jour­ney,” said Lam­pard. “Petr ends up as a young lad here from Ligue 1 in France and cre­ated his own story through hard work and qual­ity.”

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK