One of the stars of the first half of the season for Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain has been captain Thiago Silva. The French champions have been dominant in Le Championnat and a key factor in that supremacy has been a rock-solid defence.
The 31-year-old skipper has been highly influential on his PSG back line this term, and the Brazilian is enjoying one of the best campaigns of his career to date, with a number of standout performances to date
Silva has contributed towards an impressive tally of 19 clean sheets from 25 appearances across all competitions over the opening half of the 2015-16 season. Of those 19 shutouts, 11 have come in Ligue 1, four have been in the UEFA Champions League, and the other was in the Coupe de la Ligue.
Known as O Monstro in his native Brazil, the former AC Milan man has certainly been living up to his nickname. The tag of “the best defender in world football” does not seem to be weighing him down as much this campaign as it has in the past either.
However, despite Silva’s impressive form with PSG on the club football stage, the South American continues to be overlooked by Brazil national team coach Dunga at international level.
Les Parisiens’ No. 2 has not been called up for the Selecao Brasileira since this summer’s Copa America in Chile back in June, and his situation does not look likely to change anytime soon.
After taking over as Brazil coach for the second time, Dunga swiftly stripped Silva of the captaincy and also his status as an undisputed starter. The player was initially injured when the 52-year-old took charge, but once fit it became clear that he is not a key part of the 1994 FIFA World Cup winner’s ideal starting XI.
Following a disappointing Copa America for Brazil, which resulted in a quarter-final exit at the hands of hosts Chile, Silva has not featured in a single squad. He has been turned into something of a scapegoat for the team’s disappointing displays over recent years and notably in the 2014 World Cup on home soil.
However, Silva’s PSG form so far this season is making a mockery of Dunga’s selection policy and his assessment of his players’ performances.
At present, Silva is arguably the most in-form defender in all of Europe—let alone the most in-form Brazilian defender—and his omissions from Dunga’s squads are frankly incomprehensible.
The PSG captain is fit, focused and possibly thriving on the motivation to prove the Brazil coach wrong by producing stellar form reminiscent of his AC Milan days.
Silva is also displaying excellent communication skills when on the pitch and the former Fluminense man has started to master French off it, which has added to his command over Laurent Blanc’s men this season.
The PSG man is clearly the strongest performer out of all of the Paris-based Brazil internationals and no other central defenders can rival the consistency of his authoritative displays.
The fact that he has been selected seven times in L’Equipe’s Ligue 1 team of the week so far this campaign speaks volumes about his steady level of performance.
If he can maintain his current form, then there is no way Dunga can continue to leave Silva out of his plans.
With the Copa America coming up again next summer, and important 2018 World Cup qualifiers to play in as well, the calls will surely soon become too loud for the stubborn Selecao Brasileira tactician to ignore.
If Dunga does finally see sense and decide to reincorporate Silva back into his squad, then Brazil will be receiving a massive defensive boost because of his current untouchable form.