Paris (AFP) – There may not have been the dramatic tears this time but there was a familiar feeling of agony for Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva on Wednesday as his side suffered their absurd Champions League humiliation.
Silva was derided for letting his emotions get the better of him as he captained Brazil at the 2014 World Cup, images of him in tears after a penalty shoot-out win over Chile seen as evidence of a mentally weak side.
That team, of course, ultimately lost 7-1 to Germany in the semi-finals.
As it happened, Silva did not play in that game due to suspension, but he was there wearing the armband as PSG succumbed 6-1 to Barcelona, the second most remarkable implosion in recent footballing memory seeing the French side lose 6-5 on aggregate.
“It is difficult to talk. As captain, I am very proud of my players. But nothing worked out. That is the truth. It is a defeat that hurts,” Silva said after the game at the Camp Nou.
It is unfair to single out one player in PSG’s train-wreck of an evening, but as captain Silva has to take his share of the responsibility.
The 32-year-old has often been hailed as the best player in the world in his position but whether he should be captaining some of the planet’s leading sides is open to debate.
After 2014, Dunga replaced Luiz Felipe Scolari as Brazil coach and went on to axe Silva.
In Paris, he has worn the armband for a team whose performances in the Champions League still do not match their ambitions — four successive quarter-final exits and now elimination in the last 16 in spectacular fashion.
Unai Emery’s side failed to make the most of their stunning 4-0 win in the first leg, when Silva was absent. The official line was that the former AC Milan man was suffering from a calf problem, but some have questioned that.
“It is difficult to say if he was injured. Nothing much showed up in the tests. It is as though he became paralysed as the game approached,” one source told sports daily L’Equipe after the first leg.
– ‘Not a leader’ –
On Wednesday, he was back alongside compatriot Marquinhos in the heart of the Paris defence, with youngster Presnel Kimpembe making way, but to Le Figaro Silva was “a leader out of his depth”.