It was late into Sunday evening that Thiago Silva left Stamford Bridge for the final time. His legacy at Chelsea cemented, his relationship with Blues supporters everlasting.

The 39-year-old will soon return to Fluminense for what may prove the final chapter of his storied career. Yet the four years he spent in west London have left an enduring mark on the defender.

Dreams were fulfilled by Thiago at Chelsea. He lifted the Champions League. He became a world champion. His performances radiated quality and class and he embraced every aspect of the club away from the pitch.

Thiago was a regular attendee at Kingsmeadow to watch our Women's team or sides from the Academy – and his sons Isago and Iago will remain in our youth ranks at Cobham. Their Chelsea journeys are still to be written.

Thiago addressed the fans at Stamford Bridge after yesterday's win at Bournemouth. That he did so in English – a language he is not fluent in – was another indication of the respect he holds supporters in.

It is a special bond that fuelled the Brazilian legend on the pitch. He exclusively told us why...

‘I’m not a superhero,’ Thiago started, ‘But in those moments the fans chant my name, I felt like one. No matter if I was tired or if I was feeling a little bit down in the game, as soon as I heard the chants I felt re-energised.

'That sensation, that emotion, I don’t really know how to explain it. It’s amazing and made me feel like I could save the team, like nothing bad was going to happen in the game.

'In this sense, Chelsea is special. That’s why even though I was here for four years, it has felt like a lifetime. Not bad for someone who was only coming for a season!’

When Thiago arrived at Chelsea in the summer of 2020, supporters were not allowed to enter stadiums due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That remained the case for much of his first campaign, yet he still became a fan favourite.

He puts that down to the status with which he arrived at the club but also how he adapted to the rigours of Premier League football.

'I think the fans saw someone who had represented great clubs and knew I would give my very best for this one,' Thiago explains. 'My history helped in this respect but I always performed with complete dedication.

'The love at the beginning could've been quiet but the fans saw how I acclimatised to the Premier League, they saw my passion and love. From there it just kept growing between us.

'That is why it's so hard to say goodbye. I knew it was coming of course, but that feeling doesn't change. You think about everything that has happened and the experiences you have had.

'It leaves me sad that it is ending but I am fulfilled because of everything we achieved together at this amazing club.'