Thiago Silva has reflected on the challenge of replacing Alessandro Nesta’s leadership in the Milan defence.
Nesta announced on Thursday that he will be leaving the Rossoneri at the end of the season.
After a decade leading the club’s back-line, the 36-year-old was quick to identify Silva as his natural heir and a player that the rest of the team can look towards for years to come.
“Being here carries a great responsibility,” the Brazilian told reporters on Friday in response.
“Previously, I had the responsibility of being heir to Paolo Maldini because I took his place in the team and now there is another great player stopping in Nesta…It is sincerely difficult to describe a great champion like him.
“He’s a great man, he helped me a lot in these last two years when we have played together and I’m so sorry because he is so good for the squad and for keeping dressing room together too. With his departure, Milan loses on both counts.”
Nesta is likely to be joined by a host of other big names to depart Milan this summer.
“All great players have great responsibility. Milan loses so much with the farewells of Nesta, Clarence Seedorf, Pippo Inzaghi and Gianluca Zambrotta. Leaving us are great champions, it is not easy to immediately replace them.
“If you make a new team and change 100 per cent or many pieces at once, it is not easy to be competitive, so you have to have quality players, personalities like Zlatan Ibrahimovic become more valuable.
“Milan is not just about Thiago Silva, there are many quality players that will help us begin again. With the players that are staying, like Antonio Nocerino, who has done well, and Ibra, then we can start to again do well.”
Silva has been compared to Franco Baresi in playing style, something that he revealed he holds dear and is one reason why he wants to stay at San Siro.
“I enjoy it because being compared to Baresi makes me very happy and I hope to still do well because I have many reason to progress here.
“I hope to continue to do well because I want to repeat the type of history that Baresi and Maldini made here.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!