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EXCLUDED – Adrien Silva: “Cristiano Ronaldo can continue for five years”

Adrien Silva would be forgiven for wanting to avoid talking about Leicester City’s Europa Conference League semi-final against Roma. Nothing really happened for him at the King Power Stadium after all, with his €25million move from Sporting CP looking doomed from the start.

The deal was completed on August 31, 2017, but FIFA only received the required documents 14 seconds after the summer window closed. Chaos ensues, with Leicester desperately trying to get permission to play Silva. But FIFA rebuffed their attempts and the Foxes reluctantly decided it would be futile to take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, meaning the Portugal international was not allowed to make his debut until on January 2, 2018.

By then, the manager who signed Silva, Craig Shakespeare, had been sacked and replaced by Claude Puel. The midfielder’s career at Leicester was effectively over before it even started. “The new manager didn’t like the player I was, and that’s just a fact.“, explains Silva in an exclusive interview with GOAL.”When I got the chance to play, I proved that I could be a good option for the team, but the manager was the only person who disagreed with that.”

“But, sometimes in football, the coach doesn’t trust you, or you have injuries – different kinds of issues can lead to those tough times. But when you have something like late registration, things that, as a player, you can’t control, it’s very frustrating because it can change everything”added the Portuguese international.

Still, it says a lot about Silva’s character, and even his sense of humor, that when he was finally saved he deliberately chose the No.14 shirt as a wry tribute to his disappointment on the day of the match. ‘due date. Against this backdrop, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Silva is more than happy to look back on his time at Leicester and look forward to Thursday’s encounter against Roma.

I would love to see Leicester win a first European trophy for many reasons.” he enthuses. “First of all, because of some players who are still around and who I’m still good friends with. Next, for the team’s new owner, Aiyawatt [Srivaddhanaprabha]because he keeps his word and continues the good work done by his father (Vichai)“.

“Because Vichai has not only done things for the club, he has also done amazing things for the city, and that’s something special. It’s also great because the fans, and the people of Leicester, deserve success. When I was playing, I felt that the fans were very supportive, especially in the first game. When I finally got to make my debut, my first minutes were very emotional. was fantastic and I will never forget them for that“, Silva added.

The enthusiasm and eagerness of the fans to see Silva belatedly in a Leicester shirt was understandable, of course. The latest in a long line of Sporting stars, he had been identified as a prodigious talent at a very young age, notably by José Mourinho, who had tried to convince him to sign for Chelsea during his second spell at Stamford Bridge.

“When I was still playing with Sampdoria last December, we played against Roma and I met José before the match“, reveals Silva. “NWe talked about this Chelsea approach. I remember having a number of great conversations with Jose back then and it was really nice to reminisce with him. In the end, I didn’t make the move because I was too young. I was only 15 and wanted to stay at Sporting, which is a great place to develop as a player.”

His decision was finally justified, since Silva ended up establishing himself as a starter at Sporting, which allowed him to join the Portugal team. Indeed, if Leicester called on him in 2017, it was because the previous year he had become European champion and had played an essential role in the success of the Seleccao in France. Silva did not see a minute of action during the group stage, as Portugal limped through to the round of 16 as one of the best third after three draws in a row.

However, Fernando Santos, in a desperate attempt to add some dynamism, creativity and control to his midfield, then launched Silva in every game of the knockout stage. So, was his introduction to the team the key moment in Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumph? “I don’t know if you can say that”Silva replies laughing, “but I can say that I played my part. Everyone has their role, in their own way, and if everyone does their job well, the team can achieve their goal. No one expected us to win but we We had this group mentality and that was the real strength of the group”.

“To be honest, we never thought about winning the tournament in the group stage. Remember Portugal had never won a major trophy before the Euros and there were so many big contenders that year: France, Italy, Spain and Germany. But our coach really encouraged this mentality that if we play as a team, it’s going to be hard to beat. We just wanted to fight until in the end and that’s what we did“.

“We took each game step by step and we didn’t make many mistakes. And we achieved something special,”concluded Silva. Cristiano Ronaldo, of course, also played a key role, scoring a few crucial goals on the way to the final before becoming Santos’ assistant in the 1-0 extra-time win over France in Paris. Indeed, after being forced off the pitch early on, the Portugal captain spent most of the game cheering and giving instructions to his teammates from the technical area.

For Silva, Portugal’s sense of unity was epitomized perfectly by Ronaldo’s refusal to dwell on his injury and focus on what he could do to help his team. “When you put your own emotions aside and sacrifice yourself for the team, it’s always better, and we’ve all done that.“, he said. “You can sometimes win games thanks to the individual talent of a player, but to have a successful team, everyone must play their part. And I’m not talking 1 to 11 here. I’m talking about every player giving their all, even if they’re only on the pitch for five minutes.”

Adrien Silva Cristiano Ronaldo injury Portugal Euro 2016 final

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“That attitude makes the difference, and Ronaldo has always been so influential in that regard. Apart from what he does on the pitch, which everyone already knows, the mentality and the spirit he creates in the dressing room are very positive. He always makes a speech to lift the group and that was very important for us as a team during the Euros.”

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Ronaldo, of course, is still going strong at 37, and is now looking forward to another World Cup, in Qatar later this year. “Of course it’s not surprising because it’s Ronaldo, but you start thinking, ‘How old can he keep doing this?exclaims Silva.But his longevity is what’s most special about him. Of course, physically, with so many games, it can become more and more difficult. But he still plays 60 or 70 matches a year, and he’s still in great shape.“.

“Even if he starts playing fewer games, he will continue to score points. So I think he could play another four or five years at the top, which is crazy. Because even after lifting so many trophies, and achieved so much, he’s never satisfied. He’s always chasing more and more titles. And that’s something that can’t be taken away from him. I’m so happy to see him shine Again”concluded Adrien Silva.

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