Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva has vowed to do his utmost to deliver the Champions League before Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaves the club.
Laurent Blanc’s side have established domestic supremacy since Qatar Sports Investment became majority shareholders in 2011 and claimed the club’s first treble of Ligue 1, Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue last season.
PSG have yet to conquer Europe, however, having been knocked out by eventual winners Barcelona in 2014-15, meaning Sweden star Ibrahimovic remains without a winners’ medal to add to a remarkable career collection.
With the 34-year-old tipped to leave the Parc des Princes at the end of his contract in June, Silva is determined that this will be the year for PSG to end their wait for continental glory.
The Brazilian told Omnisport: “Zlatan has a particular personality. At each training sessions he wants to win. That’s something positive. And the other thing [that strikes me] when I look at him is that it’s all about his personality.
“Any time he wants to say something to you, he would say it face to face. That’s positive. Quite often, players don’t speak face to face, they speak behind your back. So I think, what Zlatan does is very positive. He has a strong personality but people in front of their TV think that he is arrogant. He is not arrogant. He is still very good and for PSG, he is a very, very important player.
“I think he is one the best players I played with. I played with [Clarence] Seedorf, Ronaldinho, [Andrea] Pirlo, [Alessandro] Nesta – they are all quality players.
“He is different. He is strong physically and he also has technique, but he has a bigger personality. That makes him a great player. I hope he can finish his career with a Champions League title. It’s his dream, and our dream. I would do everything possible to help him win the Champions League.”
PSG’s only defeat so far this season came at the hands of Real Madrid in the group stage, but Silva is confident the team is close to reaching a level capable of securing Europe’s top prize.
Indeed, the 31-year-old hopes he can help the runaway Ligue 1 leaders reach the standard of Spain’s top two and German champions Bayern Munich before he retires.
“I think we’ll succeed this time. The project here is big. With the players we have, we are close. Little by little, we will reach that level,” he said.
“Obviously, the sooner the better because we have the will to win the Champions League, and in order to win it, we need to play at 100 per cent.
“It’s difficult to talk about the future because you never know. But I want to keep playing here with Paris Saint-Germain. The backroom staff, the coaches, the medical team, the chairman, they all like me. When you work in these conditions you make the players happy.
“I hope I will finish my career here. I hope that, with me, the club will keep improving. That’s our objective. The chairman often says that I am the boss. I hope we will continue like this. I hope that we will improve our football to reach the likes of Barca, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich, who are at another level.”
Silva may be keen to finish his career in the French capital but he was keen to pay tribute to two icons of Italian football that he played alongside between 2009 and 2012 at San Siro.
“I believe the ‘Italian School’ made me progress a lot in my career. In Paolo Maldini’s last six months, I watched him play and it was an amazing thing,” he added.
“Even at the end of his career, you saw his positioning sense was perfect. You looked at the defender of the other team and thought – ‘this cannot be normal’, a player like that end his career. So I learned a lot in terms of positioning, the right time to run, the right time to do a cover, understand what the opposing player, when he has the ball, what he probably will do, and to prevent these moves.
“Then I went to play with Nesta, so everything was easier. He was an idol for the team and I’m a particular fan of him, and learned a lot from Maldini and Nesta.”