As Thiago Silva prepares to captain Brazil in their FIFA World Cup opener against Serbia, the defender has been discussing how prepared he is ahead of his fourth tournament.
The Selecao are one of the favourites to lift the famous trophy in Qatar with a squad boasting an embarrassment of riches including Neymar, Vinicius Junior, Gabriel Jesus and Bruno Guimaraes.
While Thiago Silva might not be the oldest member of the squad – that honour goes to 39-year-old Dani Alves – he certainly epitomises the experience and wisdom that manager Tite hopes will help Brazil go all the way.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of their first game, the Chelsea centre-back reflected on the honour of being handed the armband and enjoying his best days in the twilight of his career.
‘I'm enjoying the best version of Thiago Silva,’ he said. ‘At 38, I'm going through one of the best phases of my career.
‘Today I'm certainly a much better person prepared for this moment, super calm and super comfortable here, with everyone's trust.
‘I’ve always been prepared for all situations and I thank the coach for naming me captain, it’s a special moment.’
Thiago Silva believes Neymar’s form and fitness could be a significant weapon for Brazil as the Paris Saint-Germain forward remains in good shape for the Group G battle, which will also include matches against Switzerland and Cameroon.
‘He arrives for such an important competition at a very good level,’ he continued about Brazil’s star man. ‘He had a different preparation compared to other World Cups.
‘In 2014, he had the injury when he was being decisive for the team. In 2018, he arrived in a different form, he had a major injury and it certainly affected him a little. Now, without injury or worries, we see a better Neymar.
‘He is humble and our group will make him even more at ease with us. Our interaction will help him to play better and we need to take advantage of this best Neymar mode.’
There are big expectations back home, from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo, that Brazil can become world champions for the first time since 2002.
‘I ask the fans to trust us,’ added Thiago Silva. ‘We are ready to have a great World Cup. The title is a long way off but dreaming is free and we dream about it.
‘The fact we won in 2002 is a great inspiration to all of us. We have images from all the World Cups we’ve won and that’s a source of inspiration and motivation that we can continue making history.’
Brazil take on Serbia on Friday evening, kick-off 7pm UK time.