Silva to leave Chelsea

Thiago Silva will leave Chelsea at the end of the season.

Silva, 39, joined the Premier League side on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain in August 2020 and has made 151 appearances, winning the Champions League, Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup.

The Brazil defender was substituted in the 90th minute during Chelsea’s 2-2 draw at Aston Villa last Saturday with a groin injury, raising the possibility that it was his last appearance for the club.

In an emotional message to supporters, Silva said he hoped to return to the club “in another role” soon: “Chelsea means a lot to me. I came here with the intention of only staying for a year and it ended up being four years. Not just for me but for my family, too.

“My sons play for Chelsea so it’s a source of great pride to be a part of the Chelsea family – literally because my sons are here. I hope they can continue their careers here at this victorious club that many players wish to be part of.

“I think in everything I did here over the four years, I always gave my all. But, unfortunately, everything has a start, a middle and an end. That doesn’t mean that this is a definitive end. I hope to leave the door open so that in the near future I can return, albeit in another role here. But…it’s an indescribable love. I can only say thank you.”

Silva added: “Obviously, when I started here, it was during the pandemic so there weren’t any fans in the stadium. But through social media, it became something very special to me and then when the fans started coming back to the stadium and life was getting back to normal, I started to feel a lot of affection and respect for my story and for my start here.

Chelsea defender Thiago Silva celebrates his opener at Sheffield United
Chelsea defender Thiago Silva celebrates his opener at Sheffield United

“It is already hard saying goodbye in the most normal of circumstances but when there is a mutual love, it’s even harder. But once a Blue, always a Blue.

“The way in which I came to the club, with the support of the club, I got to the club as a leader even though I didn’t feel like it having arrived as the new guy. It’s always difficult to integrate but bit by bit I became part of the group and (Frank) Lampard played a big part in that. I am grateful to him for that.

“[It’s been a] dream, definitely a dream. Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I could achieve such great things and win one of the best professional titles, the Champions League, at one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“Goodbyes are for those that leave and don’t come back. I intend on coming back one day…”

Silva exit marks further changes under Boehly

Chelsea celebrate Thiago Silva's opener at Sheffield United

Silva’s first season ended with victory over Manchester City in Porto as Chelsea won the Champions League for the second time, and the 113-cap Brazil international has since endeared himself to supporters with the club undergoing a colossal turnover in personnel under Todd Boehly’s Clearlake Capital consortium.

His departure means that, just three years on from that victory in Portugal in May 2021, there will be only two players left at Chelsea who were part of then-manager Thomas Tuchel’s 23-man squad for the final – captain Reece James and vice-captain Ben Chilwell.

Mauricio Pochettino started Silva in 22 of his first 24 Premier League games in charge but he has been used more sporadically of late and was an unused substitute in four consecutive matches in March and April.

Chelsea's Thiago Silva

Weeks earlier, following a 4-2 home defeat to Wolves at the start of February, Silva’s wife Belle appeared to call for Pochettino to be sacked, posting on social media: “It’s time to change. If you wait any longer it will be too late.” She later apologised.

The manager has faced questions about the viability of using a central defender who will be 40 in the first weeks of next season but has insisted age has not been a factor in his decision to leave him on the bench.

Under Boehly, Chelsea have pursued a policy of signing young players on long contracts, while more experienced squad members have been moved on.

Silva has more than 10 years on the next oldest player to have made a first-team appearance this season, 29-year-old Raheem Sterling.

Chelsea’s remaining fixtures

May 2: Tottenham (H) – Premier League, kick-off 7.30pm, live on Sky Sports

May 5: West Ham (A) – Premier League, kick-off 2pm

May 11: Nottingham Forest (A) – Premier League, kick-off 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports

May 15: Brighton (A) – Premier League, kick-off 7.45pm

May 19: Bournemouth (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4pm

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