When Thiago Silva was handed his Premier League debut back in September away at West Brom, a few short weeks after completing his transfer from Paris Saint-Germain, there was one additional responsibility that Frank Lampard bestowed upon the Brazilian.
With Cesar Azpilicueta and Jorginho both starting on the bench, the Chelsea captain’s armband was passed on to the veteran defender on his first appearance in English league football. The burden may have weighed heavy on some players but not a man closing in on 100 caps for Brazil.
‘It was a surprise for me, a good surprise of course,’ he said this week when reflecting on the moment he found out. ‘I was really happy with all this respect in relation to the club’s history and the captains in the past. On this occasion, Azpilicueta and Jorginho were out so he [Lampard] opted to give me the captain’s armband.
‘I was really happy and content to have made my debut in the Premier League as a captain but my biggest joy comes from simply wearing the shirt, regardless of whether I’m captain or not.’
The 36-year-old knows how much people back home in Brazil will be following his Chelsea career, the club's popularity in that part of South America fuelled by the prominence of so many players from the country having plied their trade at Stamford Bridge in the past.
Many of his countrymen have won major domestic and European titles with the Blues, a story of silverware that Thiago Silva is keen to write his own chapter in.
‘Not so long ago David Luiz was here with Willian, Oscar, Ramires and Diego Costa, who has dual nationality with Spain but he’s Brazilian,’ he continued.
‘They were all Brazilians who were successful here at Chelsea and I hope that I can do a bit of what they all did here and that I can blaze a trail to victory. I’m really happy here and there’s no doubt that Chelsea in Brazil are even more popular.’
Settled in Surrey with his family close to our Cobham training ground, there are clearly no regrets for Thiago Silva with his decision to take his career from Paris to London. He wants to contribute, compete and be fighting for trophies come the end of the campaign.
‘I think I’m adapting well,’ he added. ‘It has been easy for me. I’m a guy who likes his home, I’m close to my family so in this regard, my family have helped me a lot. Adapting isn’t always easy but I’ve surprised myself, not just with the English culture but the fact the football here is different to where I’ve been.
‘It’s a team that I liked to watch and if you imagine yourself being in the team, despite being on the outside, you see how much the team could still improve. The team is really young and I came to improve alongside them even more and fight to win the competitions we’re competing in.’
The next step on that quest comes at Goodison Park this evening against Everton, a side our number six admits 'have not been playing well in terms of results' but one he knows will provide stiff competition.
'We're going to aim to play our game and impose ourselves,' he stated. Unbeaten in nine Premier League matches and with the battle-hardened Brazilian at the back, you'd expect nothing less.