Thiago Silva has declared he would like to emulate AC Milan and Italy legend Paolo Maldini by continuing to play until he is at least 40.
The Chelsea defender also opened up on his desire to return to his former club Fluminense, where he made 143 appearances before joining Milan in 2008.
Upon his arrival in Italy, Silva faced a six-month wait before he could be registered for competitive fixtures.
He spent that time learning from Milan hero Maldini, who was midway through the final of his 25 seasons with the club and preparing to hang up his boots at the age of 41.
Silva, 36, hopes he can match Maldini’s incredible longevity by continuing to play to at least the landmark age of 40.
“I, in particular, saw myself a lot at Maldini,” Silva told TNT Sports . “Those last six months of his career were the six months that I had arrived at Milan and couldn’t play.
“[Then-Milan manager Carlo] Ancelotti took me to all the games, he asked me to look at the team somehow, of course, but specifically to look at what Maldini did on the pitch and off the pitch.”
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Silva added: “I identified a lot with Paolo and with this little interaction that I had with him, I could see there that suddenly I was preparing well and could reach 40 years of age playing wherever I wanted, you know.
“And Paolo, for sure, he shouldn’t even know it, but he’s certainly a great admiration that I had, a mirror so that I can reach these 40 years, which is the age I have in my head that maybe I could end my career.”
Silva also admitted it is his “dream” to return to Fluminense, with whom he won the Copo do Brasil in 2007 but lost the Copa Libertadores final on penalties the following year.
He added: “I do have this dream of returning to wearing the shirt of Fluminense, everyone knows my desire, it was expressed by [manager] Marcao recently also in an interview.
“But it’s something I prefer to leave ahead to see how things are going to happen, right. It’s a difficult decision to be made, but I’m really thinking with great affection and suddenly have this Libertadores mission again.”
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