Rio de Janeiro, Oct 5 (IANS) Recalled Brazil defender Thiago Silva has expressed a desire to prolong his international football career at least until the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
After more than a year in international exile, the former Brazil captain has returned to the national squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia and Venezuela over the next week, reports Xinhua.
“I’m 32 but I have the body of a 25 or 26-year-old,” the Paris Saint-Germain defender told the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper.
“I take good care of myself and I still want to play in the national team for a few more years. Right now I want to concentrate on helping the team qualify for the World Cup and then work even harder to play in it.”
Silva last represented Brazil at last year’s Copa America in Chile, where he gave away a penalty with a handball in the team’s quarter-final loss to Paraguay.
But after evidently falling out with then coach Dunga, the former Fluminense and AC Milan player has been given another chance under new Selecao chief coach Tite.
“Without doubt returning to the national team has been one of the biggest objectives I’ve had in my life,” Silva said.
“The last season in Europe was the best of my career. Being left out makes you think about how you can evolve and improve. We aren’t perfect but we can always try to get better and grow.”
Brazil will host Bolivia in Natal on Thursday before an away clash against Venezuela in Merida five days later.
Silva is expected to start in the heart of the Selecao defence in both matches, alongside either PSG teammate Marquinhos or Inter Milan’s Miranda.
Brazil are currently second in the 10-team South American zone qualifying standings with 15 points from eight matches, one point behind Uruguay. Bolivia is eighth and Venezuela last.
Silva dismissed suggestions that Brazil’s next opponents are not in the same class as the five-time World Cup winners.
“There’s no such thing as an easy game,” he said. “We have to try to maintain our level, or improve on our (last) performances against Ecuador and Colombia.”