Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva, two of the most experienced members of the Chelsea dressing room, have discussed what it is that makes a good captain, with the Brazilian citing the current Blues skipper as the perfect example of a modern leader.
Azpilicueta has held the Chelsea armband since the start of the 2019/20 campaign, having previously been Gary Cahill’s right-hand man following the departure of John Terry.
Thiago Silva too has skippered the Blues, including on his Premier League debut against West Brom, and has regularly worn the armband for Brazil, as recently as last week. As a man with such an illustrious playing career for club and country, Thiago is well placed to explain why Azpi has proven such a success in the role at Stamford Bridge.
‘As soon as he arrived, Azpilicueta was one of the first to write to me wishing me good luck in this new chapter,’ revealed the veteran defender.
‘He is a spectacular guy, a super professional who undoubtedly deserves to be where he is and wear the armband, which means so much to him.
‘There are different types of captains: there are those who talk more, and others who are quieter but mean a lot to the team. Azpilicueta has both aspects: he is very important on the field, and outside he brings the team together when necessary to talk about what is necessary and to make things clear so they don't go wrong.’
Thiago Silva says he spoke with both Azpilicueta and vice-captain Jorginho prior to wearing the armband at the Hawthorns so soon after joining the club, explaining he was here to help, and he recognised the others’ permanent roles.
It is communication like that that stands out as one of the pillars of being a successful captain, something Azpilicueta acknowledges in his assessment of leading a football team.
‘Each captain does the job in a very different personal way, but you have to show it every day, in the good times, in the difficult ones, to lead by example and always be there,’ the 32-year-old emphasised.
‘You might be living a different moment to the person next to you, but if they need that help you must be there to give it. I have a great relationship with everyone in the dressing room. Each player is different, each one is going through different situations, emotional states and you have to know when one thing or another is necessary, but the relationship is fantastic.
‘We have an incredible group. I always try to contribute my maximum to that and, above all, during the difficult moments. That is when you have to be there the most.’