Paris Saint-Germain strongly supported captain Thiago Silva after reports in French publication L’Equipe suggested that the Brazilian’s injury problems are not as serious as the club has made them out to be.
According to the often explosive French newspaper, the 32-year-old defender missed the pummeling of Barcelona not because of a calf bruise but was because he was “frozen with fear” ahead of one of the biggest games of his life.
“It’s hard to say if he’s injured,” said an unnamed source L’Equipe referred to as a “regular at the training center.” “Medical examinations did not show much. It looks as though he has tensed up at the approach of the event.” L’Equipe is known for its harsh words and even harsher match ratings, and occasionally seems to embellish otherwise routine stories.
PSG responded with an exclusive in Brazilian newspaper Globoesporte, saying, “Thiago Silva was injured after the Ligue 1 clash with Lille [on February 7th],” the statement from the French champions read. “The diagnosis was heavy bruising on his left calf — he did not play against Bordeaux the week before the Champions League match at home to Barcelona.”
“Thiago Silva is our captain, the man of great games, who is always there through the difficult times and is appreciated by the staff and his teammates. Everyone at the club is shocked by the doubts some have expressed about his motivation.”
The L’Equipe claim doesn’t seem to hold much water. Thiago Silva is an experienced Brazilian international and has played Champions League matches against clubs like Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, and even Barcelona twice in the 2014/15 campaign, which both times resulted in a 3-1 loss. He is also known to be injury prone, with the club even pointing out that after the unsuccessful World Cup in 2014, Silva returned to the club early to help them start the season, only to result in an injury in doing so.
After the Lille match where he picked up the injury, Silva missed the following Ligue 1 meeting, a trip to Bordeaux which PSG won 3-0. The article went on to say that the injury is severe enough to keep Silva out of the next Ligue 1 match, a home date with Toulouse, and he is expected to return for the trip to Marseille on February 26th. That would theoretically see Silva fit enough to play in the second leg against Barcelona on March 8th.
Without the captain on the field, manager Unai Emery instead was forced to pair an incredibly young duo of Marquinhos (22 years old) and Presnel Kimpembe (21 years old) in central defense, the latter of whom made his Champions League debut. With the help of successful midfield cover in Adrian Rabiot, he two held Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez scoreless in the 4-0 demolition.